After nearly a quarter-century of efforts in California to afford terminally ill patients the right to end their lives with a doctor’s help, state lawmakers and the governor may be on the verge of granting the dying that authority.
The state Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally sick. The End of Life Option Act, which the Catholic Church and others oppose, awaits final approval by the Senate — three months after that chamber passed a similar bill by a thin margin.
The fate of the legislation is likely to rest with Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student who has yet to articulate his position on the measure. Brown has expressed concern about it, based more on legislative procedure than his own beliefs.
Modeled after an Oregon law enacted in 1997, California’s aid-in-dying proposal generated passionate, often deeply personal, debate among lawmakers that cut across party lines. Their discussions touched on questions of morality and mortality; trust in doctors and God’s grace; and the right of the dying to determine their own fate versus protection for the elderly and vulnerable . . .
Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown (D-Rialto) opposed the measure, arguing that doctors may be too hasty in declaring patients terminal. She told lawmakers about her son, who was near death with an infection. Physicians urged her to let him go, and she refused. Nineteen days later, he came off life support and is now a husband and father. (Read more from “California Assembly Approves Right-To-Die Legislation” HERE)