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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.

Compassion & Choices’ bilingual California Access Campaign continues to be instrumental in implementing the law and has already seen major successes since launching.


Email: california@compassionandchoices.org
Phone: 1-800-247-7421

/ October 6, 2017

Defending and Protecting End-of-Life Options in the Courts

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 […]

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/ August 30, 2017

LA Times: There’s an unforeseen benefit to California’s physician-assisted death law

This story originally appeared on www.latimes.com on Aug. 21, 2017 Some doctors in California felt uncomfortable last year when a new law began allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal medicines, saying their careers had been dedicated to saving lives, not ending them. Many healthcare systems designed protocols for screening people who say they’re interested […]

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