California to become 5th US state to allow assisted suicide

(REUTERS) - Ms Anita Freeman says she suffers from post traumatic stress disorder after watching her sister's suffering from terminal cancer. She's very much in favour of California's move to make assisted suicide legal from January.

The new law will allow the prescription of drugs to end a patient's life if two doctors agree that patient has six months or less to live and is mentally competent.

Ms Freeman says it's too late for her sister, Elizabeth Jane, but now others need not suffer the same lingering death.

She said: "If we would have had a law that allowed aid in dying, we could have spared her a horrific death which then spilled over into the rest of the family being horrified, watching her suffer like she did. She was only 66."

California's right to die Bill was signed into law on Monday by Governor Jerry Brown.

He put this statement on his official website explaining that he would want to consider all the options in the face of a prolonged and painful end.

Yet there are those keen to stop the new legislation coming into force.

Californians Against Assisted Suicide state director Luis Alvaro said: "We don't see suicide pills as being medication. What we see is suicide pills being an irreversible drug that, surprisingly, is not available for those people that the law already requires them, the state, to take their lives, but will now be readily available for those patients who want to consider taking their lives or may feel pressured into taking their lives."

California's new legislation follows nationwide publicity over the case of Ms Brittany Maynard.

The 29-year-old brain cancer patient had move to Oregon to take advantage of the assisted suicide law there.

California becomes only the fifth state to allow medically-aided deaths.