More than 100 people exercise California's new right to die

California State Data on End of Life Option Act Confirms It is Working Well

The End of Life Option Act, which took effect in June of a year ago, allows for terminally ill patients with six months or fewer to live to request life-ending drugs in the form of a pill.

More than 100 people have legally ended their lives since California enacted a right-to-die law a year ago, according to a new report. The data showed that 191 prescriptions had been written, so 80 people had not taken the drugs at the time of the survey.

The California Department of Health details that in the six months following the so-called "right to die" law was instated, 191 individuals diagnosed as having less than six month to live were approved for "life-ending" prescriptions.

The law took effect on June 9, 2016.

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.

OR was the first state to adopt this kind of law in 1997.

Compassion & Choices will continue to provide education to the public and medical professionals through its bilingual Access Campaign to ensure that every eligible terminally ill person has access to the End of Life Option Act.

The CDPH says of the 111 people who died, more than 87% were over 60 years of age.

"Patients in OR have been refused chemotherapy, but their insurance companies will pay for so-called "aid-in-dying" drugs".

An additional 21 individuals died before taking the drugs. More than 94 percent of the patients had health insurance, including 57 percent on Medicare, Medicaid or California's Medi-Cal program.

In 2016, California became the sixth state to enact a "right-to-die" or physician-assisted suicide law (Washington, D.C. also has one in place).

"Patients are not required to have even a basic psychological evaluation prior to receiving a prescription for lethal drugs", a message on the Life Legal Defense website addressing assisted suicide said.