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About the California End Of Life Option Act

Legal Battle

Update: On Friday, June 1, Compassion & Choices appealed a lower court’s decisions in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the California End of Life Option Act. As a result of this decision, the End of Life Option Act is not currently available to eligible Californians who are suffering at the end of life. Our appeal is on behalf of two terminally ill patients and a California doctor who is a palliative care specialist. With this appeal, we are one step closer to restoring access to the End of Life Option Act for eligible Californians!

Compassion & Choices is urging California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to take a supportive position on the appeal, which would trigger a stay of Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia’s judgment. A stay would reinstate the law pending further court rulings.

Filing this appeal means that our efforts will now move to the appellate courts, where we hope to find a less biased ear. There is no doubt this will be a battle — our opposition will try to foil our efforts and undermine our credibility at every turn — but we are prepared to continue fighting to restore the End of Life Option Act, even if it means heading to the Supreme Court!

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.


Due to a Riverside County Court decision, the California End of Life Option Act is not currently available to eligible California residents who are suffering at the end of life.  

The California End Of Life Option Act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015. The law authorizes the practice of medical aid in dying, in which mentally capable adults, with six months or less to live, can request a doctor’s prescription for medication that they could decide to take in their final days or weeks to end unbearable suffering and die peacefully. The law will go into effect June 9, 2016.

Read the 2015 California Annual Report and learn more about our historic campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in California.

How do I Access a Prescription?

Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for medical aid in dying under California’s law, an individual must be:

  • An adult
  • Terminally ill
  • Given a prognosis of six months or less to live, and
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions

An individual must also be:

  • A resident of California
  • Acting voluntarily
  • Making an informed decision, which includes being given information about all other end-of-life options
  • Informed that they may choose to obtain the aid-in-dying medication but not take it, and
  • Capable of self-administering the medication

In addition to these eligibility requirements, those wishing to qualify for a prescription for aid-in-dying medication must follow regulatory requirements, including having at least two doctor visits for medical evaluation and discussion about the request. Therefore, it can take as little as 15 days or as long as three months for a person requesting a prescription to receive it. It’s important that people wishing to use the law talk to their doctor early to make sure they are willing to write a prescription. The following C&C fact sheets contain more comprehensive information about the new law.

Where Can I Learn More?

For California Residents:

California Introduction to Medical Aid in Dying

California End of Life Option Act Information for State Residents Factsheet

California End of Life Option Act Frequently Asked Questions Factsheet

Government sponsored website that shows and compares the ratings of hospice agencies – giving you a snapshot of the quality of care of each hospice

About the Access Campaign

State Forms

Patient’s Request for Aid-in-Dying Drug

Final Attestation for Aid-in-Dying Drug Interpreter’s Declaration

For more information on the full range of end-of-life options visit the Compassion & Choices End of-Life-Information Center.