California Enacts the End of Life Option Act

On October 5, 2015, Governor Brown signed the End of Life Option Act allowing adults who meets certain qualifications and are terminally ill to request a prescription drug for the purpose of ending his/her life. Terminal disease as defined by this new law is an “an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, result in death within six months.”

This new law is partly inspired by the story of Brittany Maynard, who in 2014 and at the age of 29, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  At the time, aid-in-dying was not available in California. Brittany relocated to Oregon to have access to its death-with-dignity law. On November 1, 2014 before her 30th birthday, Brittany passed away after ingesting her prescribed aid-in-dying drug. Following her death, Brittany’s family fought to pass the “right to die” legislation in California.

Almost a year after her death, California and four other states have similar death-with-dignity laws. To read more about the Bill under Health and Safety Code Sections 443 et seq., please see here: https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201520160SB128

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