Governor of California Jerry Brown signed a bill on October 5, 2015 that would allow terminally ill patients to receive a lethal injection that would end their life. The bill states, “Existing law authorizes an adult to give an individual health care instruction and to appoint an attorney to make health care decisions for that individual in the event of his or her incapacity pursuant to a power of attorney for health care. This bill, until January 1, 2026, would enact the End of Life Option Act authorizing an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life.” This bill will go into affect starting June 9, 2016.
Though there was some opposition to the bill, Brown ultimately decided to sign the bill into law when he thought about being in the shoes of someone who is terminally ill. According to KQED News, he stated “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.”
The law states that in order for someone to be allowed to have medically assisted suicide, they must have two doctors conclude they have less than six months or less to live and have the ability to swallow the lethal medication on their own. They must also write out that they can swallow the medication on their own 48 hours before they do so.
A few other states have also passed a law that will allow lethal medication for someone who is terminally ill. These states are Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Illinois currently prohibits assisted suicide.