California Right to Die Law

California’s Governor, Jerry Brown signed The End of Life Option Act (California Right to Die Law)into effect on October 5, 2015. Recent efforts by many groups including the organization Death With Dignity had finally led to the approval of the bill. This allows  people who are terminally ill with less than six months to live to receive medication that would end their lives. The signing of the bill made California the sixth “Right to Die” state.

California Governor - Jerry Brown - California Right to Die Law

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 the bill. And I wouldn’t deny the right to others.

Jerry Brown

California Governor

Right to Die Had Many Objections Initially

There were many objections to the bill along the way. The Republicans in the Senate objected to passing the bill because they felt it devalued life, and gave sick people a reason to give up. The Catholic Church, disability rights organizations, and other groups such as Californians Against Assisted Suicide also objected to its passing. One of the main groups supporting the bill was Compassion & Choices which is the successor to the Hemlock Society.

One of the topics that caused the most argument was the use of the term assisted suicide. That is one of the reasons the use of the terms aid in dying, end of life, right to die, and death with dignity were preferred. Just using the term suicide caused votes against the legislation.

California Right to Die – There are Many Steps

ABC News in Los Angeles tells the story of patients who have long fought for their right to die, but are finding out that now, according to the new law there are many steps that need to be followed. In addition, not all doctors are required to participate or are all religious-based systems.

Other segments of the law require the patient to be at least 18 years of age, have less than 6 months to live, be the one who starts the process and be able to take the medication at home without help. There must be no sign of mental disease as diagnosed by the patient’s doctor.

You must be of clear mind and capable of making the request both orally and in writing. If this is not the case, you will not qualify under the California Right to Die Law.

The acceptance of the right to die is gaining greater acceptance, even from the catholic church.  Archbishop Tutu has suffered from prostate  cancer for many years and his himself an advocate as shown in these recent quotes.

Dying people should have the right to choose how and when they leave mother earth.

When my time comes, I want the option of an assisted death

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Right to Die

With so many complexities, the advocacy group Compassion and Choices , mentioned above, is helping health providers and the public find resources.

“The main thing that we’re hearing from doctor’s is just a sense of anxiety around never doing this before, as with any new medical procedure,” said Matt Whittaker of the group.

Pray that you never find yourself in a situation needing to make this kind of decision for your self. Everyone however will pass from this life eventually, so it is always good to have funeral plans in place. If there is one thing that people working in the funeral business learn is that non of us are guarenteed tomorrow.

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