Calif. Governor Decides on 'Assisted Suicide'

Gov. Jerry Brown meets with bishop, doctors before deciding
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2015 7:00 PM CDT
Updated Oct 5, 2015 7:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Monday allowing terminally ill people in the nation's most populous state to take their own lives, saying the emotionally charged bill forced him to consider "what I would want in the face of my own death." Brown, a lifelong Catholic and former Jesuit seminarian, says he acted after discussing the issue with many people, including a Catholic bishop and two of his own 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 that accompanied his signature. The 77-year-old Democrat said he would not deny those comforts to others.

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The statement was Brown's first comment on the bill, which makes California the fifth state to allow terminally ill patients to use doctor-prescribed drugs to end their lives. The measure applies only to mentally sound people and not those who are depressed or impaired. State lawmakers passed the bill last month. A previous version failed earlier this year despite the highly publicized case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to end her life. In a video recorded days before Maynard took 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." (But the Vatican called her death "reprehensible.")

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