California Legalizes Assisted Suicide For Terminal Patients

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After months of maintaining a stony silence about California’s right-to-die bill, Gov. Jerry Brown signed it today:

The Golden Rule isn’t always the best guide to public policy, but in this case I think it is. California has an obligation to make sure assisted suicide isn’t abused, either by doctors rubber stamping requests or by friends or relatives pressuring sick patients to end their lives. Beyond that, though, deciding when and how to die is about as personal a decision as someone can make. It’s not that assisted suicide doesn’t affect other people—it does—but as a matter of public policy it’s best for the state to remain resolutely neutral. This is something that should be left up to the patient, her doctor, and whichever of her friends, family, and clergy she decides to involve.

The text of the bill is here. Brown did the right thing today by signing it.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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