California Legalizes Doctor-Assisted Suicide
California became the fifth state to allow physician-assisted suicide when Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on Monday.
Under the new law, which takes effect at the beginning of next year, if two doctors agree that a terminally ill patient is mentally competent and has six months or less to live, they will be allowed to prescribe medication to end the patient’s life.
Supporters of the legislation said it will provide a way to help end-stage cancer patients and others to die with less pain and suffering.
Opponents of the bill have stated several problems could arise, from caregivers pressuring patients to insurance companies offering to pay for life-terminating drugs instead of life-saving ones.
The bill, which had previously been defeated six times in the legislature or the ballot box, also makes it a felony to pressure anyone into requesting or taking assisted suicide drugs.