Assisted Suicide Now Legal in California

by Jason Stotts

The governor of California, Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown, has recently made the right choice to sign into law a bill that makes it legal for physicians to prescribe lethal doses of drugs for people who are terminally ill and still mentally competent to make the choice to die (LA Times). This is a great step forward for advocates of individual liberty, because there are few crueler fates than being forced to stay alive to suffer before death merely to appease someone else’s religious preferences.

This bill was made possible by Brittany Maynard, who advocated for physician assisted suicide and made headlines as she made this choice herself. Her death was a catalyst for the debate and her struggle really made it possible.

I’m very pleased in this positive movement for individual liberty and autonomy.

On the other hand, the governor also vetoed a bill that would have allowed patients to try experimental medications that have not received governmental approval yet in a bid to try to prevent their death. This is a tragedy and shows a deep lack of principle of Brown’s part. What difference does it make to the man who is dying of a terminal disease if a drug that may save his life may also kill him? The man will die anyway, he should be given the chance to fight for his life if he wishes to. Moreover, these brave people would also help to move forward medical science and help others who may be in the same position later.

So, while there was a significant win for individual liberty, there was also a setback. Overall, if we keep pushing these issues on the underlying principles, we shall keep seeing victories (like my friend Alex Epstein shows).

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