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HEARING EXAMINES ASSISTED SUICIDES.

Byline: Karyn Hunt Associated Press

A day after voters in Oregon reaffirmed their support for physician-assisted suicide, a trio of California legislators held a hearing to begin considering possible state action on the issue.

California voters narrowly defeated a ballot measure in 1992 that sought to legalize assisted dying, but political and social climates have changed since then, said Assemblywoman Carole Migden, D-San Francisco.

And since then, the U.S. Supreme Court has put the issue back in states' hands. Although voters had their say, the state Legislature has not yet weighed in on the issue.

Migden - who convened the hearing Wednesday along with Assemblyman George Runner, R-Lancaster, and Assemblywoman Helen Thomson, D-Fairfield - noted that Wednesday's hearing is only the beginning of a long process. It could be a year before she or anybody else comes out with specific legislation to be considered by elected representatives.

``This is the beginning of, I hope, a very thoughtful and deliberative process,'' she said. ``I don't want to be precipitous.''

Another hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 in Los Angeles.

Any eventual legislation would have to contain carefully defined terms, Migden and others said. Among them: Who is considered terminally ill and where is the fine line between passive euthanasia, in which a patient is allowed to die, and deliberate action to hasten death.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 6, 1997
Words:221
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