Capitol Weekly

By John Howard
October 5, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown, in one of the most emotional moments of his long political career, signed into law a bill allowing people near death to end their lives with lethal drugs supplied by a physician. “The crux of the matter is whether the state of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life, no matter how great his pain or suffering,” Brown wrote in his official signing message.

Brown, a Catholic who once studied for the priesthood, said he considered the “heartfelt pleas from Brittany Maynard’s family and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In addition, I have discussed this matter with a Catholic Bishop, two of my own doctors and former classmates and friends who take varied, contradictory and nuanced positions,” Brown wrote.

In the end, the governor wrote, “I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. 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. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others,” wrote Brown, whose church considers suicide a sin.

With that, Brown signed ABx2 15 by Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, a Stockton Democrat, a reworked version of the original bill, SB 128 authored by Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis. California is the fifth state in the nation to allow physician-assisted suicide.

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