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Donda West Law introduced

OW Staff | 2/27/2009, 5 p.m.

SACRAMENTO - The Colton, CA niece of Donda West, the mother of entertainer Kanye West, who died following cosmetic surgery, has sought out 62nd District State Assembly member Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto) to introduce legislation calling for a requirement that any person, prior to undergoing elective cosmetic surgery, have a medical clearance from a licensed physician.

The proposed legislation, which is called the "Donda West Law," was filed late Friday afternoon for the 2008 legislative session and is now Assembly Bill 2968. Yolanda Anderson, who has lived in Colton since 1984, said Friday that after her aunt died on November 10, 2007, "We felt this is something we wanted to do to make sure her death wouldn't be in vain. We don't want to let it happen to other families. We've spoken to Kanye and he's very enthusiastic about it."

The 58-year-old West is reported to have suffered complications that led to her death following an abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and breast reduction, which was performed by a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. She apparently had not heeded medical advice from a different plastic surgeon to get a clearance due to a pre-existing medical condition. The Los Angeles County coroner's report, as of Jan. 10, 2008, said that West died of "coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors due to or as a consequence of liposuction and mammoplasty...but the final manner of death could not be determined."

When her niece, Anderson, a property manager, decided to pursue her idea for a law, her husband John, a basketball coach at Wilmer Amina Carter High School in Rialto, suggested that they contact the legislator, for whom the high school is named. When Yolanda Anderson contacted Assembly Member Wilmer Amina Carter's Rialto office in late November, Carter felt that she should enter her idea in her district wide contest called, "It Ought to Be a Law." The winner of the contest, which ended Nov. 30, 2007 would see his or her idea introduced as a bill in the 2008 legislative session and then have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process.

The "Donda West Law" was selected from all the fine entries, Carter said.

"I received many thoughtful legislative ideas, but the proposal from the Andersons is timely and definitely needed in order to better protect our citizens from unnecessary bodily trauma that could result from elective cosmetic surgery, if they are not physically fit to undergo surgery,"
Carter said. "This is not directed at the many good plastic surgeons out there who require that their patients have a medical clearance before they perform elective cosmetic surgery. But it's not a requirement by law, and this will address those who may not require the clearance."