California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law this week that makes assisted suicide legal in the Golden State. His decision has resulted in an explosion of criticism as people argue that Brown didn’t consider the pain the new law may cause others.
Brown wrote a short letter to explain this shift in ethics of health-care policy and medicine. If he were “dying in prolonged and excruciating pain,” reads the letter, he would find “comfort” in the knowledge that assisted suicide was an option.
Many are shocked, calling the new law a “catastrophe.” They condemn the law as a part of “death culture” and argue that the law will cause people to die when they would have recovered, not to mention the worry it will cause family members when they are forced to watch their loved ones die before their time.
Critics of the law worry that assisted suicide will become common simply because it is cost effective. Individuals with serious health issues may be pressured to accept death as a solution.
Did you know that assisted suicide is legal in over 10% of the country? Looking at the facts shows that very few assisted suicides result from the situation Brown described.
Even worse, many worry that assisted suicide promotes traditional suicide. When people see state after state legalizing assisted suicide, they become desensitized and feel more comfortable with the idea of self-termination as a solution to their problems.
At this point, it is up to pharmacists and doctors to fight against the law. In the words of Canadian journalist Andrew Coyne:
“A society that believes in nothing can offer no argument even against death. A culture that has lost its faith in life cannot comprehend why it should be endured.”