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Opponents Say Right-To-Die Law Might Lead To Early Suicide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Opponents say the California law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives with doctor-prescribed medication fails to protect people from being coerced into premature suicide.

State lawmakers adjourned a special session on health care Thursday, paving the way for the law to take effect June 9.

Marilyn Golden with the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund said the law could allow people denied medication by one doctor to shop around for the lethal drugs.

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Edward "Ned" Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, says palliative care and emotional support is the compassionate response, "not a lethal dose of drugs from a physician."

Some patients were relieved. Elizabeth Wallner, who has stage 4 colon cancer, says it gives her "peace of mind to know that I will not be forced to die slowly and painfully."