Controversial ‘Right to Die’ Legislation Passes Senate

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SACRAMENTO-

Terminally ill patients in California are one step closer to having the choice to end their lives with a doctor's help.

Friday afternoon, Senators voted 23-14 in favor of the End of Life Option Act.

"I'm just so happy for this day. Bless you Brittany," Debbie Ziegler, mother of Brittany Maynard said.

"The expression on her face [in this picture] relates how she would be feeling right now, today of pride and happiness," Dan Diaz, Maynard's widower said.

Brittany Maynard's families let out tears of joy, as her wish for a compassionate death passed the California Senate. A year ago, she moved to Oregon, which allows for end of life aid, to avoid suffering from brain cancer.

The bill's co-authors, Senator Lois Wolk and Senator Bill Monning appealed to their colleagues that the bill has safeguards that protect seniors and those with disabilities from becoming victims.

"Would you want compassionate death or them to resort to a gun?" Senator Monning asked.

"With the legislative approach, we can put the protections and safeguards in place," Senator Wolk said.

Many Senators opposed the bill, citing personal experiences. Senator Jeff Stone said he was glad he did not choose to end life support when his mother was terminally ill.

"Would you like having blood on our hands by putting this into the government arena and for these reasons in honor of my deceased mother, I respectfully ask for your no vote," Senator Stone said.

Others cited religious reasons and concerns about the elderly and disabled.

The bill passed the Senate 23-14 just before 4:30 p.m.

The bill is now awaiting Governor Brown's signature before it becomes California law.