California could become the 6th American state to legalize assisted suicide

In spite of strong opposition, an amendment aiming at legalizing assisted suicide was voted this past September 9th at the California Assembly (by 43 votes in favor, and 34 against) and in the Senate on September 12th (23 votes for and 14 against). It now is awaiting ratification by the democratic governor, Jerry Brown, who has until October 11th to accept or on the contrary veto this proposed law. This proposition authorizes the doctor “to give patients with no hope of being cured, a medical treatment which would end their life.” Two doctors must certify that the patient has no longer than six months to live before the medical treatment can be prescribed.

This subject came to light in 2014, when Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with untreatable cancer, moved from California to Oregon in order to have recourse to assisted suicide. A short time before her death, she filmed a video which sparked an outpouring of emotion, which has since been viewed world-wide.

California could thus become the sixth American state to legalize one form or another of medically assisted suicide, after Oregon, Washington State, Montana, New Mexico and Vermont.

Opponents to this amendment think that such measures could lead to hasty suicides. “I don’t want to encourage elderly and vulnerable people to die and I think that this could be an unexpected consequence of this law”, Republican Senator, Ted Gaines deplored.

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