It took a few years, but California has joined four other states in allowing critically ill patients "assisted suicide" as an avenue out of their debilitating pain.
The Catholic Church fought it. Spent millions lobbying against it while medical associations were in favor of it, or at least neutral. Early on, the AMA had opposed states trying to pass the Death with Dignity Act (which started in Oregon in the late 1990's.) But after seeing the success that Oregon had, the AMA has changed its tune and now doesn’t fight the movement. Not all doctors are on board, but a growing majority reflect the view that a person should have more control on their own passing than currently is available to them in most states’ law.
Jerry Brown, governor of California has signed the legislation, Experts were watching which way his support would fall, considering he was a Jesuit trained seminarian for some time. But even Gov. Brown could see the benefit in this version of the act.
This act is the very foundation for my latest novel, The End just released by LULU Press. The End deals with a woman’s losing battle over cancer and her brother’s refusal to unplug her from life support.
Here is a synopsis:
Your final act in life is to ask your brother to do one last thing for you. But he refuses. He can’t. His faith won’t allow it. All you want to do is die in peace. This is the premise of John Crawley’s 15th novel, The End.
Released by LULU Press, The End is centered around the issue of a patient’s right to die with dignity. Set in Oregon in the late 1990’s, Lucy Brooks, a schoolteacher and her partner, Christine Bentley, a rising art star in the Pacific Northwest, are faced with the harsh reality that Lucy has a very aggressive strain of cancer that has metastasized throughout her body and she is going to die. But worse, the doctors warn them that this cancer is violently painful in the final days.
Lucy decides to seek assistance with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, a law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives at an appropriate time before long-term suffering ensues. Unfortunately for Lucy and for Christine, the state of Oregon does not, at that time, recognize their union as an official marriage. Christine can’t represent Lucy in any legal matters. When Lucy lapses into a coma before they can act on her life termination wishes, it leaves her estranged brother, Father Walter Brooks, as the sole next-of-kin, who is needed to sign the life termination documents.