California: Gov. Brown Signs Assisted Suicide Law

The bill is modeled after the Oregon law.

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a controversial bill into law that would allow physicians to prescribe a lethal dose of drugs to terminally ill patients. The L.A.Times describes that Brown appeared to "struggle" over whether to approve the bill.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown wrote in a signing message. “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.”

The new law is modeled after Oregon's assisted suicide law that went into effect in 1997.

The California law will permit physicians to provide lethal prescriptions to mentally competent adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and face the expectation that they will die within six months.

The law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its special session on healthcare, which may not be until next year — January at the earliest, November at the latest.

 Tim Rosales, a spokesman for Californians Against Assisted Suicide said, “This is a dark day for California and for the Brown legacy. As someone of wealth and access to the world’s best medical care and doctors, the governor's background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in healthcare poverty without that same access — these are the people and families potentially hurt by giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal overdoses to patients.”

Brown said he considered advice from numerous sources, included his own doctors, Catholic bishops and advocates for the disabled. “I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful,” Brown wrote.

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