California’s End of Life Option Act goes into effect Thursday, making it the fifth state to have an assisted suicide law.
The law allows terminally ill patients to end their own lives using drugs prescribed by doctors.
Matt Fairchild, who says he is an Army and Navy veteran, supports the law and plans to use doctor-prescribed medication to end his own life when he is ready, KABC News 7 reports. He was diagnosed with melanoma four years ago, requiring him to undergo numerous rounds of chemotherapy, harsh radiation, surgeries and blood transfusions.
“I’m still fighting to stay alive as long as possible,” he told KABC. “When that stops and I go into hospice, my plan would be to immediately do the paperwork and get the medication to have on the shelf. Because I want that sense of calm.”
Fairchild noted, “I look at it like you can pass naturally in your sleep, and that’s beautiful. You can pass moderately uncomfortable but with your friends and family around you and it’s a beautiful thing and life ends and that’s the way it is, or you can die painful.”
Archdiocese of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell called the law “a failure of our love.”
“A failure of heart, really, that we can’t think of anything else we can do for people who have been told that they have terminal illness than to offer them a package of pills, where they can take their own life, and say, ‘Go ahead; just commit suicide,'” O’Connell told Catholic News Agency.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law last October.