California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on October 5, 2015 that makes California the fifth state to allow physician assisted suicide (“PAS”). Governor Brown indicated that he is unsure if he would utilize PAS himself. However, he did not want to deprive others of this option.
Passage of the bill must be credited to Brittany Maynard, who captured national attention and brought support to the end of life movement in 2014. Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and she decided to relocate from California to Oregon to die with dignity on her own terms. Although Maynard died in November 2014, her captivating story and leadership has urged states to consider allowing PAS. Currently, 24 states and the District of Columbia have considered bills that would authorize some version of PAS. It is predicted that the passage of California’s bill may encourage these states to finalize and pass their bills as well.
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