By Taylor da Costa
The recent signing of the physician assisted-suicide bill by Governor Brown is one that sparks great conflict among many. Religious leaders and most conservatives believe that allowing physician assisted-suicide is sinful and morally wrong. On the opposing side, many believe that it brings peace and comfort to both the victims of terminal illnesses, as well as their families. As someone who identifies myself as a Christian and a social Democrat (fiscal Republican), I can emphasize with both sides, but at the end of the day, I truly believe that the individual who is suffering a long and painful death should be granted the mercy of passing away in a peaceful way.
One of the biggest questions Governor Brown asked himself is “what would I want in the face of my own death?” This is a question that we all must ask ourselves before deciding if it is truly right or wrong. There are several debates in this country that people may see as “sinful” and “morally wrong,” such as gay marriage and abortions, and I feel like this bill falls into that category. Given that there are certain measures one must go through, at the end of the day it is ultimately your body and your life, and you should have the right to do the things that you believe will best benefit yourself and your family. Regardless of what political party you side with, nowhere in the Constitution does it say that we have the right to tell others how they can and can’t live their lives.
Put yourself in the shoes of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a previous resident of California who moved to Oregon after she was suffering from brain cancer. She didn’t have much time left, and she knew her death would be a painful one. Maynard’s family supported her decision for an assisted-physician suicide and pleaded for Brown to remember Brittany while contemplating the bill, as “one of her final wishes was to pass this legislation so that others do not have to go through what she went through,” according to her husband, Dan Diaz.
The signing of this bill is a great victory for the Maynard family, and will help several families who are facing the same heartbreaking fate in the future. Physician-assisted suicide is not the same thing as suicide due to depression, or other mental illnesses; it is simply allowing what we already know is inevitable to occur in a peaceful and comfortable manner for everyone involved.