Gov. Jerry Brown signs into law controversial right-to-die legislation

SACRAMENTO (KUSI) – Gov. Jerry Brown signed right-to-die legislation Monday, after months of debating and court hearings. 

According to AP, California is the fifth state to allow this legislation.

The other states that allow it are Washington,Oregon,Vermont and Bernalillo County, New Mexico. 

The bill includes requirements that patients be physically capable of taking the medication themselves, that two doctors approve it, that the patients submit several written requests, and that there be two witnesses, one of whom is not a family member.

In a statement released from the Office of the Governor, Gov. Brown said he spent many hours reading material from doctors, religious leaders and others before coming to this decision.

"In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death," he said. "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."

State lawmakers approved the bill Sept. 11.

Opponents to the bill call the right-to-die, "premature suicide," but supporters called that comparison inappropriate because it applies to mentally sound, terminally ill people and not those who are depressed or impaired.

Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) issued the following statement in response to Gov. Brown signing the legislation. 
"This was clearly one of the most watched and debated issues we faced this session. It is also one of the most emotional, with legislators bringing their own experiences into the discussion. I have experienced end-of-life issues in my own family, and I supported the bill because I believe it respects patients’ rights and gives them choice they deserve-and it includes protections to prevent abuse. "Governor Brown did the right thing in signing this legislation, and he was strong in outlining his reasons. I want to thank him and my colleagues for addressing this important issue in such a thoughtful way."

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