California Becomes Fifth State to Allow Physician-Assisted Suicide

California’s wrenching yearlong legislative debate over the right to die culminated Monday with Gov. Jerry Brown signing into law a bill making California the fifth state to permit physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

As a Democrat and former Catholic seminarian, Mr. Brown was caught between two opposing sides of the right-to-die debate, and had given little indication of whether he would sign the bill before it reached his desk in early September.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Mr. Brown said in his signing statement. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. 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.”