Californians terminated lives under aid-in-dying law a year ago

The End of Life Option Act went into force last June and allows terminally ill adults to obtain and self-administer life-ending drugs from their doctors.

The law, first introduced in 2016, allows patients who are terminally ill to voluntarily take their lives.

The data from the California Department of Public Health found that 191 individuals received prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs between June 9, 2016, and December 31 of the same year.

Most people who took the aid-in-dying drugs were white, more precisely 102 out of 111. The Department of Public Health must gather information on those who take or seek taking these aid-in-dying drugs.

The state data shows that during the half-year from the day the law took effect on June 9, 2016 until December 31, 2016, 191 terminally ill Californians received prescriptions from 173 doctors for aid-in-dying medication; 111 of those individuals (58%) made a decision to self-ingest the medication. More than 94 percent of the patients had health insurance, including 57 percent on Medicare, Medicaid or California's Medi-Cal program.

OR adopted the law in 1997. The majority of patients had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. OR became the first state to adopt right-to-die legislation in 1997, and doctor-assisted deaths are legal in Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington, and Washington D.C., according to USA Today. The patient must verbally ask for the lethal prescription to a doctor twice and with at least 15 days between each request.

Christian Burkin, spokesperson for California Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman, said that the data may be limited, but the numbers show that the End of Life Option Act is being implemented the way Eggman and other authors of the law intended it to work. Alexandra Snyder, an attorney with Life Legal Defense Foundation, said the data did not show whether the patients were suffering from depression or coerced into taking the drugs by doctors. "173 unique physicians prescribed 191 individuals aid-in-dying drugs".

  • Aubrey Nash