California Passes Right-To-Die Bill: Will Pope Francis Influence Jerry Brown On Euthanasia Law?

If California passes right-to-die legislation all the way, The End Of Life Option Act bill will need to be signed into law by California governor Jerry Brown, but it is not a given that he will comply with the wishes of right-to-die advocates. Some experts claim Brown’s position on euthanasia and assisted suicide is unknown, while others wonder if Pope Francis and the official position of the Catholic Church may influence Brown’s decision.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, an otherwise healthy woman is scheduled to die by doctor-assisted suicide due to suicidal thoughts and feelings. She simply has had suicidal thoughts since childhood and claims, “Life, that’s not for me.”

But California’s euthanasia law was drafted with the intention of providing help for those whose terminal illness has become unbearable, not for those who suffer from depression. Senator Lois Wolk, a co-author of the bill, claims “Californians want us to act to eliminate the needless pain and prolonged suffering of those who are dying.”

In general, religious groups disagree with this assessment. For example, now that an assisted suicide law failed in England, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, Peter Smith, said the bill had posed “grave risks” to the most vulnerable people in society.

“There is much excellent practice in palliative care which we need to celebrate and promote, and I hope now the debate on assisted suicide is behind us, that this will become a focus for political action,” he said, according to The Telegraph.

Speaking for the Church of England, the Bishop of Carlisle James Newcome, said, “The vote in the House of Commons sends a strong signal that the right approach towards supporting the terminally ill is to offer compassion and support through better palliative care. We believe that all of us need to redouble our efforts on that front.”

If California passes right-to-die legislation, Jerry Brown may have to wrestle with his Jesuit-trained Catholic beliefs. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines euthanasia as “an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes the death of handicapped, sick, or dying persons—sometimes with an attempt to justify the act as a means of eliminating suffering.” Catechism number 2277 specifically forbids assisted suicide, with euthanasia being considered a form of murder.

While Pope Francis has yet to publicly comment on California’s right-to-die law, the Catholic Pope did directly address the controversy surrounding the death of Brittany Maynard, who wanted to die because of a terminal brain cancer. According to the CS Monitor, Pope Francis says it is unlawful to take a life and warned of the dangers posed to the elderly by “hidden euthanasia” in our “culture of waste.” Francis claims the the lack of good health and disability is “never a good reason to exclude, or worse, to eliminate a person.”

“We don’t judge people, but the gesture in itself is to be condemned,” said Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula, head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, which answers ethical issues in the Catholic Church. “Assisted suicide is an absurdity. Dignity is something different than putting an end to your own life.”

Thus, if California passes right-to-die legislation, Jerry Brown will be taking a position that is the opposite of Pope Francis.

“Your work wants to witness by word and by example that human life is always sacred, valuable and inviolable,” the pontiff said. “And as such, it must be loved, defended and cared for.”

What do you think?

[Image via Getty Images]

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