The End of Life Option Act took effect June 9, 2016, but our work didn’t stop with enactment. Compassion & Choices has been on the ground working to implement the law by ensuring access for terminally ill residents, and working to educate healthcare providers about the end-of-life option — all while fighting legal challenges to the law.
If you’re a terminally ill Californian who would like to access the law, use our new Find Care tool to locate a health care team that will honor your end-of-life values.
Compassion & Choices has remained active in California since legislative attempts first came about, but in 2014 we launched an ambitious five-year plan to successfully pass a medical aid-in-dying law. Thanks to a young woman named Brittany Maynard who shared her experience, we were able to pass legislation in less than a year.
C & C led a multi-pronged approach: we organized our supporters to pass local resolutions and prepare for a ballot measure; we pivoted to the legislature when a bill became possible; and we filed a lawsuit asserting the right of Californians to choose medical aid in dying.
We implemented a robust field and legislative strategy: deployed staff, hired lobbyists and rallied thousands of volunteers on the ground in California. We also invested over half a million dollars into research to find out how a highly diverse state like California understands and talks about end-of-life issues, specifically aid in dying. California became an opportunity for C&C to really flesh out our strategy and our capacity as an organization. C&C’s national Spanish-language media outreach and national storyteller project were both launched as part of the CA campaign.
State Senators Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Lois Wolk (D-Davis) approached us to help pass their bill, SB 128, End of Life Option Act. Despite an intense field and lobbying effort, SB 128 was assigned to a committee with not enough support to pass that committee. C&C’s team proposed a strategy to introduce a new version of the same bill in a legislative special session, and Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) led the final push to get the new End of Life Options Act through the legislature and to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. After a briefing from C&C staff and supporters, and a request to former Archbishop Desmond Tutu to share his support, Governor Brown signed the bill into law.
The California Assembly recognized C&C’s work to pass California’s End of Life Options Act with a dedicated resolution.
Wolf Breiman, whose cancer prompted him to publicly support legislation to give terminally ill Californians the option of medical aid in dying, died peacefully from pneumonia on December 31. He passed away in his home, while surrounded by his wife, Debbie Diamond, family and friends. He was 89. “He was such a trooper who never […]Read More
Ahn v. Hestrin, California On June 16, a superior court ruled that a lawsuit to overturn the California End of Life Option Act will proceed to trial to determine the case’s merits. Last year, the court accepted a friend-of-the-court brief filed on behalf of Compassion & Choices urging it to deny the plaintiffs’ motion for […]Read More
Advocates for laws in D.C. and six states that authorize medical aid in dying are urging members of Congress to oppose a House concurrent resolution wrongly claiming medical aid in dying “puts everyone…at risk of deadly harm.” The full resolution (H.Con.Res.80), introduced by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (Ohio) and cosponsored by Reps. Luis Correa (Calif.) and […]Read More