Terminally ill people in California will now have access to legally prescribed medication that will help them end their life.
After a fierce debate, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Monday that makes California just the fifth state to legalize assisted-suicide.
Brown, who once studied to enter the priesthood, said the decision on whether or not to approve the bill was a difficult one.
“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.”
Though he may not choose the option for himself, Brown said the choice should be left up to individuals and their families.
“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,” he said.
According to the L.A. Times, the historic law will go into effect 90 days after the legislature closes its special session on healthcare, which is projected to end in l January. The law will allow doctors to prescribe “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.”
Proponents of the law say it allows people to die with dignity, while opponents claim it may push some to end their lives prematurely.
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Photo: QMI Agency