By Chris Henry
On Monday, October 5th, terminally ill Californians gained the right to die on their own terms. After much deliberation and a thumbs-up from the state legislature, Governor Brown approved a historic bill giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal doses of medication to certain patients upon their request.
As one could probably guess, not everyone is too thrilled about the decision. Opponents such as the Catholic Church have condemned it, claiming that only God should be able to end a human life regardless of an individual’s health. Many patients’ rights groups have also voiced concerns that patients could act brashly on temporary feelings of depression or even be coerced into ending their lives by relatives or caretakers.
On the other hand, supporters of the law claim that individuals deserve the right to die with dignity and control, especially when faced with the agony of a deadly illness. Rather than continue to suffer for weeks or even months, many terminal patients wish to spare themselves and their loved ones any further hardship by speeding up the inevitable.
LCHS senior Shannon Comstock, who lost her mother after a long fight with hemochromatosis two years ago, supports the measure and wishes her mom could “have had an option to end the pain” during her final weeks. Lawmakers heard many similar testimonies from citizens who have been affected by the issue, including terminally ill people themselves such as Brittany Maynard, who became a face of the “death with dignity” movement before legally ending her life with the help of a doctor in Oregon last year.
To better understand how LCHS students feel about the issue, we made a poll asking whether or not they approve of the new law.
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