Today, local state Sen. Bill Monning and his colleague, Sen. Lois Wolk of Davis, will introduce a death with dignity bill in the California Senate. We applaud them both for having the courage and compassion to take this important step.
The End of Life Options Act will give Californians who are terminally ill the ability to legally obtain prescription drugs that will end their lives. The proposal includes several safeguards: Among others, the drugs must be self administered; two physicians must confirm that the patient has six months or less to live; the patient must be mentally competent; the attending physician must discuss alternatives, including pain medication; and written and oral requests must be made, at least 15 days apart.
A handful of other states — including neighboring Oregon — already have similar laws, and several others are considering such legislation.
That’s encouraging progress on what has long been a taboo subject.
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We believe this option should be available to every terminally ill person. It’s unfair and illogical to force desperately ill California residents and their families to try to obtain life-ending drugs illegally, or to do as 29-year-old Brittany Maynard did last year, and move to Oregon to obtain the drugs legally.
We recognize and respect that some terminally ill patients would never choose to end their own lives for moral and religious reasons, among others.
That is their choice to make.
We strongly believe, however, that this is a highly personal decision that should be left to the individual. The option to take life-ending drugs should be available to those who wish to end their suffering legally and in the comfort of their own homes, surrounded by their loved ones.
We urge lawmakers to give them that choice. Spare them the additional hardship that patients like Brittany Maynard experienced by approving the End of Life Options Act.