In his letter, Brown acknowledged that this legislation “is not an ordinary bill because it deals with life and death”.


In a rare personal message, California’s 77-year-old governor provided insight into his deliberations before deciding to signa bill allowing terminally ill Californians to legally take their own lives, reflecting on religion and self-determination as he weighed an emotionally fraught choice.

California’s right to die Bill was signed into law on Monday by Governor Jerry Brown. For example, today the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Seán O’Malley, issued a statement criticizing Gov. Brown’s decision.

“I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain”, he said. The act also protects workers’ rights to inquire about other employees’ salaries or share this information among themselves, importantly combatting unofficial (and often illegal) “pay secrecy” policies upheld by many employers across the country.

Denying these people the opportunity to have a medically-assisted death at the time of their choosing, presumably with friends and family at their side, is simply barbaric, and we would hope Pennsylvania’s lawmakers, if they ever get around to approving a budget, will take this subject under consideration.

“It’s huge”, said Kathryn Phillips, state director for Sierra Club California.

Opponents of the legislation have argued that it facilitates suicide in cases where a doctor’s diagnosis may be wrong. The patient must also have a private meeting with a doctor to ensure the decision is being made independently.

For decades, Dr. Jack Kevorkian was the American face of the movement known as “right to die” or “assisted suicide”.

Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2014 at the age of 29. She’s very much in favour of California’s move to make assisted suicide legal from January. She spent the final weeks of her life recording videos and doing interviews lobbying for this bill to expand to other states. That I deserve to suffer for weeks or months in tremendous amounts of physical and emotional pain?

There were many, though, that opposed the effort and urged Brown to veto the legislation.

Yet there are those keen to stop the new legislation coming into force. Image: Office of governor Jery Brown.

Recently, the right-to-die law was legalized in California. “I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the option afforded by this bill”, he said in his letter directed toward the California State Assembly.

The other states where doctors can prescribe life-ending drugs are Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana. Why have people been using such resources to push this bill through the years?

Meanwhile, Maynard’s family will be present during legislative hearings. That makes California the fifth – and largest – state to permit medical aid in dying.

California Governor Jerry Brown

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