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LOS ANGELES, October 6, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - California has become the fifth U.S. state to legalize assisted suicide.
Democrat governor Jerry Brown, a self-professed Catholic, signed the End of Life Option Act yesterday, despite heavy criticism from pro-lifers. The bill makes it legal for doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with a lethal drug dosage so that they can end their own lives.
Governor Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, said he discussed the bill with a Catholic bishop critical of the bill before he signed.
"In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death," said the governor.
"I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain," he explained. "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."
Four other states — Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — already have similar legislation.
Los Angeles archbishop Jose Gomez, in an official statement, is warning the move will lead to further violations of human life and dignity. "This is a new path for the state and we have no idea where it will lead," he says.
Elsewhere, Abp. Gomez cautions, "Once we start down this path, there will be no turning back," adding that "[t]he logic of doctor-assisted suicide does not stop with the terminally ill."
The California Catholic Conference (CCC), "the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in California," declared:
As Catholic Bishops in California we join hands with the disability rights groups, physicians, other health care professionals, and advocates for the elderly in opposing physician-assisted suicide as the wrong way to advance the human dignity for those facing a terminal illness.
Pope Francis has warned us about our "throw-away culture." Have we become so callous in protecting the sacredness of life that we easily approve of a physician handing over a lethal dose of drugs to someone to end their life at their most vulnerable moment when they most need to be cared for with love and attention? ...
For vulnerable people, this isn't compassion. There's nothing in this law that supports or promotes the common good. This bill does nothing to validate the lives of the vulnerable. If anything, this bill says just the opposite and only serves to increase their emotional burden. And it facilitates subtle but potent pressures on the elderly and the disabled to end their lives rather than become a financial or emotional burden on their children.
Many are crediting the well-publicized, highly sentamentalized political campaign of Brittany Maynard as being the inspiration behind the bill's passage. Maynard was a "right-to-die" advocate who committed suicide in Oregon last year after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.