California Assembly approves right-to-die legislation
"Ater nearly a quarter-century of efforts in California to afford terminally ill patients the right to end their lives with a doctor’s help, state lawmakers and the governor may be on the verge of granting the dying that authority.
The state Assembly on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs to the terminally sick. The End of Life Option Act, which the Catholic Church and others oppose, awaits final approval by the Senate -- three months after that chamber passed a similar bill by a thin margin.
The fate of the legislation is likely to rest with Gov. Jerry Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student who has yet to articulate his position on the measure. Brown has expressed concern about it, based more on legislative procedure than his own beliefs."
California Legislature Approves Assisted Suicide
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, the California State Legislature on Friday gave final approval to a bill that would allow doctors to help terminally ill people end their own lives.
Four states — Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont — already allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to some patients. The California bill, which passed Friday in the State Senate by a vote of 23-14, will now go to Gov. Jerry Brown, who will roughly triple access to doctor-assisted suicide across the country if he signs it. Mr. Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, has given little indication of his intentions.
But leaders of the “death with dignity” movement said they hoped the passage of the California law could be a turning point in efforts to expand options for suffering patients at the ends of their lives.
“It allows for individual liberty and freedom, freedom of choice,” said Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, who compared the issue to gay marriage. “We’re doing something not only right today but profoundly important.”
In the NY Times a discussion of whether terminal illness is the only reason:
Helping a Suicide When the End Isn’t Near