The second week of September 2015 will be hailed in the history of California with a landmark victory for supporters of assisted suicide, when the State Legislature gave its final approval to a bill that would allow the doctors to help terminally ill people end their lives.
The similar right-to-die bill had earlier failed to pass in the State legislative assembly in 2007 and was vehemently opposed by many religious and medical groups. Even in 1992, the voters of the state had rejected the proposition to allow the physicians to prescribe lethal injections to the terminally ill patients. These groups had raised concerns that the ill and disabled could be coerced into choosing death over care, that can be expensive and burdensome.
“California will become the fifth state to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, after Gov. Jerry Brown signed the measure into law on Monday, ending his months of silence on one of the most emotional issues in the state this year.”
Even though similar bills have failed in the state in the past, the case of Brittany Maynard(2014) who moved to Oregon to have a physician-assisted suicide, made headlines that helped the bill gain enough support to pass.
After more than 25 years of efforts, the state had been on the verge of granting the terminally ill patients the right to end their own lives with the help of a physician and finally it was passed as a law after the governor, Jerry Brown gave his approval on the 5th of October 2015. The law will eventually take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its special session on healthcare, which may not be until next year — January at the earliest, November at the latest.
The Death with Dignity bill requires the patients to submit two oral requests for a lethal prescription, a minimum of 15 days apart, as well as a written request. After the attending physicians receive all the three requests, they grant these patients the so-called “right to die”. The state assembly finally passed a bill that would allow the physicians to prescribe life-ending drugs and would legalize euthanasia or assisted suicide that is essential for anyone who hopes to defeat the evil of imposed death. The bill is called SB 128 and it was the 8th attempt by doctor-prescribed suicide activists in California. It is supposedly modeled after the Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act.”
The debate regarding this bill had long been evaluated with several groups putting forth their pros and cons of Death with Dignity. The opponents described it as against God’s wishes to propel someone’s death while those who favor the law say that it is a humane and a compassionate thing to allow someone die in peace and without enduring too much pain. They propounded the pros of this kind of death to someone as:
- A freedom to the patient to select the way to die when s/he is already suffering too much from an incurable pain.
- It helps in alleviating the patient’s suffering if they are terminally ill.
- To aid the dying patient painlessly.
- It follows the theory of coping with suffering in such a way that it assists the patient to die peacefully.
- Death with Dignity must be a normal extension of the rights of the patient enabling him to make a decision about the value of death and life.
But the people against the practice of Death and Dignity choose morality and ethics. They are against the practice and term it as :
- Mercy killing is ethically incorrect and must be prohibited by law and they consider this practice to be a homicide.
- Every human life deserves exceptional protection and security. The medical technology should improve the quality of life and increase the life span.
- Family members can take undue advantage of the condition of the dying patient.
- There is no way to guarantee if the assisted suicide is voluntary or is insisted by others.
- It is an act of murder and killing among all religious beliefs.
- The right to die is a moral principle based on the belief that a human being is entitled to commit suicide or to undergo voluntary euthanasia.
Possession of this right is often understood to mean that a person with a terminal illness should be allowed to commit suicide or volunteer to ask for assisted suicide or to decline life-prolonging treatment, where a disease would otherwise prolong their suffering to an identical result. The question of who, if anyone, should be empowered to make these decisions is often central to debate.
In 2014, five states of Montana, Oregon, Vermont, New Mexico and Washington considered bills to allow physicians to help terminally ill patients end their lives; this year, that number increased to 6 when California also joined plus the District of Columbia, according to Compassion and Choices, a group that supported the law.