San Diego Law Review


Lance L. Shea

Library of Congress Authority File


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Most laws passed by the state legislature affect our lives, but at least this one, the California Natural Death Act, affects our death. For the most part today, gone is the ability to take that last breath before death in a warm, quiet bed at home surrounded by loved ones; that scene has been replaced by hospital rooms or long-term care facilities in which tubes, wires and electronic equipment of medical wizardry help prolong lives with icy indifference. In an attempt to lend more humanity and dignity to the dying process, this Comment advocates that the California legislature amend the Natural Death Act to clarify ambiguous language and to allow non-terminal, as well as terminal, patients to benefit from the statute. In addition, this Comment proposes that the legislature broaden the Act to permit physician aid-in-dying under certain limited conditions and upon patient request.

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