As California Gov. Jerry Brown pointed out Monday, ABX2 15 is not just any other piece of legislation: By definition, it's a matter of 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," Brown said, "no matter how great his pain and suffering."
The governor made his perspective clear -- and made ABX2 15, which is also called the "End of Life Option Act," a statewide law -- when he signed the controversial legislation Monday.
Until then, Brown hadn't indicated where he stood on the issue. Until he explained that his decision was personal, based on his reflections "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," he wrote in a letter addressed to state lawmakers. "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."
Californians Against Assisted Suicide, an alliance opposed to the measure, called this rationale flawed.In a statement, the group said policymakers should have first thought about how the law will affect the disadvantaged -- not the well-connected, like Brown.
"As someone of wealth and access to the world's best medical care and doctors, the governor's background is very different than that of millions of Californians living in health care poverty without that same access," said the coalition, which added that it is "reviewing all of its options moving forward." "These are the people and families potentially hurt by giving doctors the power to prescribe lethal overdoses to patients."