Jerry Brown turned to his own doctor and Desmond Tutu in assisted-suicide decision


In signing a controversial assisted suicide bill Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown released a highly personal statement explaining his decision-making.

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Here’s the text of that statement:

To the Members of the California State Assembly:


ABx2 15 is not an ordinary bill because it deals with life and death. The crux of the matter is whether the State of California should continue to make it a crime for a dying person to end his life, no matter how great his pain or suffering.

I have carefully read the thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights.

I have considered the theological and religious perspectives that any deliberate shortening of one’s life is sinful. I have also read the letters of those who support the bill, including heartfelt pleas from Brittany Maynard’s family and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In addition, I have discussed this matter with a Catholic Bishop, two of my own doctors and former classmates and friends who take varied, contradictory and nuanced positions.

In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. 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.

Sincerely, Edmund G. Brown, Jr.



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