By JP Keenan 10-05-2015

In a controversial decision, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Monday that allows physicians to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. As a former Jesuit seminary student, Gov. Brown said the decision was difficult but that he wanted to give terminally ill patients all the options to consider. The LA Times reported Gov. Brown’s explanation:

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown added. “I do not know what I would do if I 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."

California becomes the fifth state to allow so-called assisted suicide, following Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont.

The new law is modeled after Oregon's. It permits physicians to provide lethal prescriptions to mentally competent adults who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and face the expectation that they will die within six months.

The Catholic Church had been the strongest opponent to the bill, which had previously failed in the Legislature in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Read the LA Times full article here.

JP Keenan is the Director of Multimedia at Sojourners.

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