California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs Assisted Suicide bill

By Dave Andrusko

Gov. Jerry Brown

Gov. Jerry Brown

I wish I could say that I ever had a good feeling that Gov. Jerry Brown would do the right thing. But, like many others, I never did.

In a brief letter sent to members of the California State Assembly, Gov. Brown never actually says he has signed AB2x 15 [the “End of Life Option Act”] into law. He just ends by saying, “I do not know what I would do if 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.”

As bioethicist Wesley J. Smith pointed out this afternoon, that is

“a false premise–as almost no assisted suicides are committed because of pain.”Moreover, Brown “damns hospice and palliative care with nary a mention.”

In its response NRLC’s California affiliate, the California Pro-Life Council, noted

Despite the efforts of our diverse coalition, the Governor has declared intentional killing as an alternative form of health care in California. Californians Against Assisted Suicide, Seniors Against Suicide, Disability Rights groups, churches, civic organizations of all descriptions worked tirelessly in an attempt to secure his veto. But even in contrast with the earlier statements of his office, which clearly indicated that the special session on MediCal funding was not an appropriate venue for such a measure, Governor Brown today signed AB2x 15 into law.

And it was a huge coalition. And many, many thousands of people contacted Gov. Brown urging him to veto the bill. And proponents snuck it through the back door [the special session on MediCal funding], after the measure languished in the legislature.

According to the Los Angeles Times

The law will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its special session on healthcare, which may not be until next year. The earliest likely adjournment would be in January.

The pro-assisted suicide lobby was, of course, ecstatic.

“This is the biggest victory for the death-with-dignity movement since Oregon passed the nation’s first law two decades ago,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, the group’s president said in a statement. “This victory is hugely significant in both substance and scope. Enactment of this law in California means we are providing this option to more than one in 10 Americans.”

Tim Rosales, a spokesman for the group Californians Against Assisted Suicide, which includes doctors, religious leaders and advocates for the disabled, called it “a dark day for California and for the Brown legacy.”

“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.”

Much more tomorrow.