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California Voters Express Strong Support for Death-With-Dignity Option

Nearly two-thirds would favor allowing terminally ill adults to request and receive a prescription to end their suffering.

(Los Angeles, CA – Oct. 1, 2014) Nearly two-thirds of California voters would support a death-with-dignity measure that would give a mentally competent, terminally ill adult the right to request and receive a prescription for life-ending medication from a physician, a poll released today reveals. This medical practice is called aid in dying.

“We know that Californians overwhelmingly support death with dignity because we hear from them every day,” said Toni Broaddus, California Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices, the nation’s leading end-of-life choice advocacy organization. “Terminally ill Californians want and deserve access to medical assistance to make a peaceful, dignified death possible.”

The survey, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research for Compassion & Choices, shows nearly 64 percent of California likely 2014 voters would favor a death-with-dignity measure. Less  than a quarter (24%) of voters would oppose the measure Strong support (36%) outweighs strong opposition (17%) by more than a two-to-one margin.

For the poll, Goodwin Simon Strategic Research completed 500 telephone interviews with registered California voters who reported they were likely to vote in November 2014. The survey was conducted from July 7 to July 10, 2014. The poll summary is here and the full results are here.

Other findings of the survey include:

“California is clearly ready for a death-with-dignity law that allows the medical practice of aid in dying,” added Broaddus. “Too many Californians are suffering needlessly.  Too many Californians are watching their loved ones endure relentless pain from the illnesses that will end their lives, pain that no medication can treat.   All Californians deserve the peace of mind that comes from just knowing they have this choice, to die gently with dignity.”

Death with dignity is an authorized end-of-life medical care option for terminally ill persons in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Compassion & Choices currently has campaigns to make death with dignity legitimate, open, and accessible in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

More information about end-of-life planning is available from state to state and is offered as a free service from Compassion & Choices End-Of-Life Consultation program, toll free at 1.800.247.7421.

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life. Leading the end-of-life choice movement for more than 30 years, we support, educate and advocate.  In 2014, C&C launched a campaign to make death with dignity an end-of-life option for Californians.  More information is available at: www.compassionandchoices.org.