The possibility for the terminally ill to opt for assisted suicide becomes legal in California. Thus rises to five – after Oregon, Vermont, Washington and Montana – the number of American States where this practice is allowed. The governor Jerry Brown, a Catholic and a former seminarian, declared that he had signed the measure on euthanasia after “a deep and careful reflection”, and after having heard various opinions including that of a catholic bishop and a trustworthy doctor.
After weeks of silence, during which the governor preferred not to comment on the measure, he has published a long letter in which he explains that he consulted two reliable physicians, friends, former seminarians, but above all, he tried to put himself into the shoes of the patients. “I do not know what I would do in the case of long and painful death throes – declared the Governor of California -. I am sure, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options contemplated in this text”.
This law, explained Brown, provides a series of measures that aim at protecting patients from being forced. First of all, they must be able to take the medicines in an independent and aware way, but will necessary also the approval of two doctors who must give in answer to two written requests. Besides, as it is written in the text, will be required also the presence of two witnesses – only one of whom may be a relative – at the moment when the lethal substance will be administered.