California signs legislation to allow euthanasia

California allows euthanasia after governor signed controversial bill letting terminally ill people to use doctor-prescribed drugs to end their lives

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Governor Jerry Brown signed a legislation to approve physician-assisted suicide on Monday, letting terminally ill people to take their own lives. Brown a former Jesuit seminarian said that he took decision over discussing the matter with many people including a Catholic bishop and two doctors.

"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," the governor wrote in a signing statement.

California has become the fifth state in US to allow the law which takes effective in 1st January.

On the other hand, some religious groups strongly opposed to the law including the Roman Catholic Church. According to religious authorities, the bill would allow suicide earlier but terminally ill patients are forced to die.

The bill has some conditions for the patients, delivering a few written demands for the medication to begin with.

According to the bill, patients must be physically fit enough to take the medication on their own and two doctors need to approve the patient's to live less than six months. The patients take the medication and there should be two witnesses to observe during their death.  

Moreover, objectors said that the law would lead insurance companies to benefit from poor people by proposing to pay life-ending drugs instead of expensive drugs that could save life.

"There is a deadly mix when you combine our broken healthcare system with assisted suicide, which immediately becomes the cheapest treatment," said Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund in Berkeley.

"The so-called protections written into the bill really amount to very little," Golden added.

Euthanasia has been an argumentative issue in the United States for quite a while.

The topic arouse in California because of the case of Britanny Maynard who had a brain tumor and had to move from San Francisco to Oregon to end her own life last November.

At least 24 states proposed right-to-die law this year but the measures have been halted. Doctors in Washington, Montana, Vermont and Oregon have legal authority to prescribe life-ending drugs.

TRTWorld and agencies