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.”

Brown certainly considered the concerns raised about the bill as his message that accompanied the signed legislation acknowledged. Yet, our laws are often written with the reasonable person standard. What would a reasonable person do in certain circumstances? Brown concluded a reasonable person would want to consider options.

The governor also has on his desk the “Right to Try” legislation. This bill would hold out hope that it would allow for potential life saving medicines that have not yet been approved by the Federal Drug Administration to be available to any terminally ill patient to try the medication if they choose.

In his message, the governor spoke of his uncertainty of what he might do faced with a dire diagnosis. But he wrote it would be a comfort to consider the options offered by the Right to Die legislation. He could widen the potential options by signing the Right to Try bill.