Politics

California Oks Right-To-Die Bill

REUTERS/Stephen Lam

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California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Monday a bill allowing terminally ill residents to end their own lives, according to NBC7.

California legislation sent the bill to Brown in early September after it passed with a vote of 23 to 14.

Brown claims he signed the bill after discussing the issue with his bishop and doctors.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown wrote in a statement after he signed the bill.

A different version of the bill failed earlier this year but passed after the California legislature took it to a special session. The legislature revised the bill in a special session making it open only to patients who are given approval from two doctors.

In addition, the bill will expire after 10 years and require re-approval. (RELATED: California Legislature Approves Bill Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide)

Support for physician-assisted suicide spiked after San Francisco native Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon last year to end her life.

Deborah Ziegler, Maynard’s mother, told NBC7 she wanted to hug Brown after he signed the bill.

“I believe this brings some meaning to my daughter’s death, and it doesn’t take away the pain, it’s hard to describe,” Ziegler said.

Californians Against Suicide, an organization opposing the bill, criticized Brown’s rationale.

“As someone of wealth and access to the world’s best medical care and doctors, the governor’s background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in health care poverty without that same access,” said the alliance.

The Catholic Church also opposed the bill and urged Brown to veto it after it was passed in the special session. Brown is Catholic.

“Pope Francis invites all of us to create our good society by seeing through the eyes of those who are on the margins, those in need economically, physically, psychologically and socially,” the California Catholic Conference said in a statement after the California legislature approved the bill. “We ask the governor to veto this bill.”

California is now the fifth state to allow physician-assisted suicide. The bill, now passed, has nearly tripled access to assisted suicide across the country.

“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,” Brown added.

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