SACRAMENTO, October 5, 2015– On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a controversial bill into law that allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. The law is highly controversial. Proponents of such legislation often refer to it as “Right to Die”, or “Death with Dignity“. Meanwhile, opponents of assisted suicide say it is nothing more than legalized murder.
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown said. “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.”
Last legislative session, proponents of the practice in Tennessee failed to pass an assisted suicide bill. Terminally ill attorney John Jay Hooker who has only been given months to live spearheaded the effort. Meanwhile, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont already have assisted suicide laws on the books. After two decades of debate, California became the fifth state to allow the practice.
Last year, the legislation was stopped by California lawmakers despite the heavily publicized story of Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old Californian who advocated for the legislation. Maynard left California and went to Oregon in order to have an assisted suicide. In a video recorded days before Maynard was prescribed the life-ending drugs, she told California lawmakers that the terminally ill should not have to “leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering and to plan for a gentle death.”