Update: The California End of Life Option Act is back in effect!
The Appellate Court in California just granted Compassion & Choices’ emergency petition to stay the Superior Court’s decision in Ahn v. Hestrin to invalidate the End of Life Option Act.
This means that while the Appellate Court considers whether to uphold the lower court’s decision or reinstate the law permanently, eligible Californians will be able to access medical aid in dying.
Read our most recent press release and full details of the case here.
California residents can find our tools to help here.
If you’re not from California but want to help find more tools here.
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 seemed 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, deploying staff, hiring lobbyists and rallying 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 this 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 it. 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 Option 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 Option Act with a dedicated resolution.
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 healthcare team that will honor your end-of-life values.
Email: [email protected]
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The 2017 data from the California Department of Public Health about the End of Life Option Act clearly demonstrates Compassion & Choices’ increasing success in educating both healthcare providers and the public about the law since the department’s 2016 report. Terminally ill Californians utilized the law about twice as much in 2017 as they did […]Read More