There was a move in California this week to repeal California's End of Life Option Act. The Californian petition drive to reject the End of Life Option Act fell short of the required number of signatures necessary to make it onto the ballot. The initiative would have allowed the people of California to decide if they wanted physician-assisted suicide in their state or not. Though the bill was signed into law back in October by Governor Jerry Brown, it didn't officially go into effect until January 1 of this year.
"[There are] several attorneys, [and] it looks like there may be several court cases, but more importantly, we're looking at Californians," tThe Director of California's Right to Life, Brian Johnston said, "because the average Californian and the average American does not understand what assisted suicide really is: that it's the use of medicine to kill a vulnerable patient."
Johnston warns that if California isn't successful in this legal battle, that other Americans can expect to soon face it in their home states. He adds, " It's the emotional pain that people need help and counseling with. And if you just give up and say, 'Okay, I'll help you die,' you're doing exactly the wrong thing .... This is the phenomenon that's sweeping our nation - and Christians in particular need to be equipped for this spiritual battle. And it's battle that may come to your very home."
One person in particular who knows personally about this emotional pain coming to his home is Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in California. When his son committed suicide, he became painfully aware of how woefully lacking the Christian church is in understanding the area of mental health, and the cruelness of its stigma. Warren has been trying to educate Christians and non-Christians through a mental health conference that is held annually at the church.
Many Christians in national leadership positions have tried to warn the church and all Americans that Physician Assisted Suicide is a slippery slope. The states where it is legal at this time include Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, and in some cases, Montana. Many other states are in the process of considering allowing physician assisted suicide.
Governor Brown is a former Roman Catholic and seminarian who says that he has looked at the arguments on both sides of the issue. He also said, "I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain," Brown said. "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."
There is supposed to be a measure in the bill that he signed that makes it illegal to pressure anyone into making a decision to end their life via assisted suicide. However, there are instances in Oregon of at least two people who were cancer patients that were denied chemotherapy but offered physician-assisted suicide. The stories about that, as well as information about how the vagueness of the laws surrounding physician-assisted suicide can be found here.