Since 1997, four states in the US have recognized the right to die with dignity. Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California in 1997, 2009, 2013, and 2015, respectively, have laws that provide a protocol for the practice of physician assisted suicide.
Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Province of Québec, Canada have legalized voluntary euthanasia. On February 6, 2015 the supreme court of Canada officially declared that denying the right to assisted suicide is unconstitutional.
Jack Kevorkian is best known for publicly championing a terminal patient’s right to die via physician-assisted suicide; he claimed to have assisted at least 130 patients to that end. He was often portrayed in the media as “Dr. Death“; however, many consider him a hero as he helped set the platform for reform. He famously said, “Dying is not a crime.”
Should the state pass laws that decide if it’s legal to commit suicide? I believe it should be your choice no matter what the reason.
The California law seems reasonable to me. Here is how its is explained in a Los Angeles Times article.
Modeled after a landmark law in Oregon, California’s law would allow terminally ill Californians to end their lives with drugs prescribed by physicians.
The legislation includes safeguards against abuse, supporters say. It would require two physicians to confirm a patient’s prognosis of six months or less to live, as well as the patient’s mental competence to make healthcare decisions.
The patient would have to make two oral requests to a physician for help in dying, at least 15 days apart, with witnesses to the requests. The medication would have to be self-administered. In addition, the bill would create felony penalties for coercing a patient into making a request or for forging a request.