Governor Jerry Brown Signs Right to Die Bill

Jerry brownToday, Governor Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act. This makes California the fifth state in the nation to legally allow a terminally ill person to choose death.

The law authorizes an adult of sound mind to self-administer “an aid-in-dying” drug if he or she has a terminal diagnosis that is reasonably expected to end their life in six months and is a resident of California. The drug must be obtained through his or her attending physician through series of requests. The law states, “An individual seeking to obtain a prescription for an aid-in-dying drug…shall submit two oral requests, a minimum of 15 days apart, and a written request to his or her attending physician. The attending physician shall directly, and not through a designee, receive all three requests… .” More stipulations can be found here.

Governor Brown issued a message when he signed the bill into law. See below:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:

ABx2 15 is not an ordinary bill because it deals with life and death. The crux of the matter is whether the State of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life, no matter how great his pain or suffering.

I have carefully read the thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights. I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful.

I have also read the letters of those who support the bill, including heartfelt pleas from Brittany Maynard’s family and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In addition, I have discussed this matter with a Catholic Bishop, two of my own doctors and former classmates and friends 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.

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.Edmund G. Brown Jr.



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