Gov. Jerry Brown today signed into law ABx2 15, the Assisted Suicide Bill formerly known as SB 128. California now joins Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington as the five states in which physician-assisted suicide is legal.
In a written statement to the California State Assembly, the governor said that he contemplated his own mortality as he weighed his decision and that ultimately he did not want to deny others the right to the option to end their own lives if faced with a prolonged and painful terminal illness.
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” he said.
Tim Rosales, spokesperson for Californians Against Assisted Suicide, said in a statement: “This is a dark day for California and for the Brown legacy. Governor Brown was clear in his statement that this was based on his personal background. 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 healthcare poverty without that same access – these are the people and families potentially hurt by giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal overdoses to patients. At this time the coalition of organizations opposing assisted suicide is reviewing at all of its options moving forward.”
The End of Life Option Act, strongly opposed by the Catholic Church, is expected to be in effect within 90 days after the healthcare special session adjourns, estimated to be in early 2016.
The bill, while under its former name SB 128, was in late summer withdrawn from the Assembly floor due to lack of support and then resubmitted with a new name and as part of a special session on healthcare funding, normally reserved for emergency funding.