On Tuesday, October 6, the same week California’s governor, Jerry Brown, signed aid in dying into law there, I wrote an op-ed for The Guardian, “California doctors can offer aid in dying, but many won’t have access.” Here’s an excerpt:
That California is a turning point for advocates is obvious by the numbers: nearly 39 million more people with six months or less to live are now able to ask their doctor for a lethal prescription. But the win was not quick or easy. Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest aid in dying advocacy group, noted in an email to supporters on Monday that this was the organization’s fifth attempt in California since 1995. “Let’s not make others wait so long,” she wrote.
The most obvious question is not how these laws get passed (with dogged grass-roots activism over decades) but why more states don’t have them. The answer: the Catholic Church opposes them.