Gov. Jerry Brown asked a proper question in considering whether to sign or veto the “Right to Die” bill: What would I want in the face of my own death? The question he asked was answered by a healthy, reasonable individual. If the question is considered by someone who is told they are facing death would the answer be the same?
That is an important question. The bill’s detractors raised the issue of the ill individual’s state of mind in the face of a dire diagnosis. Senator Bob Huff sent out a press release reflecting some of these objections: “Many patients go into depression when they hear their illness is terminal, but while depression is treatable, suicide — even if state sanctioned — is not. By signing this legislation, the Governor ignores warnings from many physicians that patients facing end of life decisions may be subtly pressured to choose death rather than hold out hope for a cure.”