[Comment: Note the quote about why Governor Brown signed this bill after it was defeated 4 times in committee with weeks of deliberation: “”In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” the governor wrote. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
Unfortunately, it seems too many people base their judgements about physician-assisted suicide based on possible future self-interest rather than what the bill allows-medicalized suicide-instead of the terrible consequences on people at risk, medical ethics and society. N. Valko RN, 5 Oct 2015]
California Governor Signs Assisted Suicide Bill
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to allow doctors to help patients die.(Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, AP)
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill Monday that allows for physicians to aid patients in ending their lives under certain circumstances.
The new law, called the End of Life Option Act, allows adults to receive an aid-in-dying drug from his or her physician if the physician determines said patient is suffering from a terminal disease.
Brown, who in his youth studied to become a Jesuit priest, wrote in a rare signing message for the bill that he considered the theological and religious perspectives that define any form of suicide as a sin.
In his signing message, Brown said he discussed the matter with a Catholic bishop, two of his own doctors and others “who take varied, contradictory and nuanced positions.”
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” the governor wrote. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
California is the sixth state to legalize assisted suicide.
The issue grew in prominence when a young California woman named Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon in order to lawfully end her own life last November.
Brown said in his message he considered the pleas of Brittany Maynard’s family, who actively lobbied in favor of the new law, and others who support physician assisted suicide.
“This is the biggest victory for the death-with-dignity movement since Oregon passed the nation’s first law two decades ago,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group that favors legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Lee coauthored Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.
“This victory is hugely significant in both substance and scope,” Lee observed. “Enactment of this law in California means we are providing this option to more than 1 in 10 Americans.”
California state senator Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat and coauthor of the bill, praised Brown’s decision.
“California has taken a bold and profoundly important step in offering support and relief to Californians who are needlessly suffering from incurable illnesses,” Leno said. “This bill embodies our nation’s basic principles of individual liberty and freedom of choice. That’s just one of the reasons the public overwhelming supports a person’s right to make end of life decisions. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the compassionate thing to do.”
The bill will not take effect until 90 days after the current special session of the legislature is done.
[Liz Szabo, USA TODAY, USA Today Network Sami Gallegos, KXTV-TV, Sacramento, October 5, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/05/calif-governor-signs-assisted-suicide-bill/73406408/ ]