Governor Jerry Brown has not said whether he will sign a bill that would allow terminally ill Californians to end their lives with doctor assistance. So opponents and supporters are both trying to sway him. They held dueling rallies at the state Capitol Thursday.
About 70 supporters chanted and marched in front of the south steps. They urged Governor Brown to sign the bill.
66-year-old Pat Ferris said he’s watched three family members die in pain.
"I want my death to be one in which I can share the time with my family," Ferris said. "And I don’t want other people telling me how I need to have those last days."
Minutes later, another rally started on the other side of the building.
About 60 disability rights and community activists chanted, “Kill the bill!”
From her wheelchair, 68-year-old Jean Stewart worried people with similar disabilities will be pressured into ending their lives, so their families don’t have to care for them.
"That’s not a good reason to commit suicide—because you’re a burden," Stewart said. "And the problem with this society is society already considers us a burden."
The Legislature has passed the bill, but not yet sent it to Governor Brown. When it arrives, he’ll have 12 days to make up his mind.