Gov. Jerry Brown last October signed a legislation by Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis,Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton that gives right to severely ill patients to die. But there are many challenges that would arrive in their path to be eligible to exercise the right. The law requires doctors to write prescription for lethal injection to patients who demand and are eligible for the same.
Numbers of ill Californian patients were battling for the End of Life Option Act since a long time, and now their battle is over. But there are few setbacks with the law, under which only patients who are about to die, but mentally sound can chose to end their lives. However, the law requires 15 steps for which it is being criticized by patients as well as doctors.
The challenges from the doctors are that they are refusing to prescribe their patients with lethal drug injection citing that this is against their moral duty. So doctors are not required to participate in the process. The prescription can be written by some religious based health systems.
Other issues related to the law on the part of patients is that only those patients will be eligible to end their life who are at least 18 years old and have only less than six months to live. In addition, those will be considered who are mentally sound enough to request for themselves and could take medication at home without anyone’s help. In case a patient is found to have mental disorder, a physician will not prescribe lethal injection to that individual.
“The main thing that we are hearing from doctors is just a sense of anxiety around never doing this before, as with any new medical procedure”, said Matt Whittaker of the advocacy group Compassion and Choices.
“The nation’s most populous state passed the assisted suicide bill in 2015, and that law takes effect today. The “End of Life Option Act,” which was pushed by the assisted-suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices, allows the practice only for mentally competent adults,” according to a news report published by Aleteia.
“This is a challenge to all of us, especially to all of us who have faith,” the bishop said, “to teach always about the infinite value of each human life.” He said the passing of the End of Life Option Act is a “failure of our love.”
Passage of the law got a boost from 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who in 2014 was a California resident with an incurable brain tumor. Maynard moved to Oregon to be able to legally take lethal drugs.
According to a report in WSJ by Jacob Gershman, “A group of doctors are going to court to try to knock down a new California law that allows terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to get a doctor’s prescription for a lethal dose of “aid-in-dying” drugs.”
“The Act violates the equal protection and due process guarantees of the California Constitution in that it fails to make rational distinctions between [terminally ill people who qualify under the law], and the vast majority of Californians not covered by the Act,” the lawsuit states.
“I just don’t understand exactly what their assertions are, given that this legislation treats all people … no matter what their condition, equally, and is respectful of their end-of-life wishes,” Compassion & Choices’s Kevin Diaz told the paper. “I don’t really think it has legs.
A report published in Parent Herald informed, “Should it be considered illegal for a terminally-ill patient to take his/her own life when death is expected to knock anytime soon? California, together with four other states, disagrees as it legalized “assisted suicide” last year for patients who are on the brink of death.”
“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,” Gov. Brown said in a statement as quoted by NPR.
While the fate seems entirely driven by the patient’s choice, this assisted suicide law has stringent measures. In California, patients should prove that their decision is voluntary and had gone through a painstaking thought process. Two California doctors must present a six-month life expiration before the medicines could be prescribed to an interested patient (via NPR).