California Advance Directive
State-specific advance directives make clear your end-of-life preferences if you are unable to make or communicate medical treatment decisions yourself. For the California advance directive form, click here.
Find Care Tool
If you’re an eligible terminally-ill Californian who would like to access the End of Life Option Act, you can use our Find Care Tool to help locate a healthcare facility that should honor your end-of-life values.
Education & Outreach
Compassion & Choices has instituted a bilingual California Access campaign designed to help patients, caregivers and health professionals better understand how the law works, and help health facilities develop more supportive policies. This year alone, staff and volunteers presented at over 100 public outreach events. Compassion & Choices also actively provides technical assistance and presentations to healthcare providers on end-of-life options. One measure of success: to date more than 80% of large health facilities have adopted policies supportive of medical aid in dying.
Click here to sign up to volunteer or email us at [email protected] to request a presentation in your own community.
On January 23, 2020, the Riverside Superior Court in California ruled that opponents do not have standing to bring their claims against the California End of Life Option Act and that the law was properly enacted by the California legislature. This was a monumental victory but the fight continues. Compassion & Choices will continue to be vigilant in protecting the practice of medical aid in dying in California.
For a full history of Ahn v. Hestrin visit our legal advocacy page here.
On February 25, 2020, Assemblymember Susan Eggman held a select hearing on the California End of Life Option Act. Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan, the California Department of Public Health, physicians and other providers from Sutter Health, the City of Hope, Kaiser Northern California, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Olympia Care Hospice, Seasons Hospice, Mission Hospice and four family members of terminally ill patients shared their experiences over the last 3.5 years under the EOLOA. Watch the full hearing here.
Advocates in California stopped a potential affiliation between Dignity Health — a religious medical system opposed to medical aid in dying — and University of San Francisco (UCSF) health systems. UCSF has been a leader in the state, implementing policies supportive of patient choice and providing patient-centered care at the end of life. This merger could have undercut those efforts and left terminally ill patients in the Bay Area and beyond without access to medical aid in dying.
On September 27, 2019, Compassion & Choices helped organize the City of Hope’s first-ever End of Life Symposium.
In October 2019, the California Health Care Foundation released a survey showing wide-ranging support for expanded end-of-life care options including the End of Life Option Act across demographics. Read more here.
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.
The California End of Life Option Act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015.
Compassion & Choices led a multi-pronged approach: We organized our supporters to pass local resolutions and prepare for a ballot measure; we educated the Legislature; 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 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 Compassion & Choices to really flesh out our strategy and our capacity as an organization. Compassion & Choices’ national Spanish-language media outreach and national storyteller project were both launched as part of this campaign.
Thanks to a young woman named Brittany Maynard who shared her experience which had an incredible effect on the end of life movement. 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. Compassion & Choices’ 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 Compassion & Choices staff and supporters and a request to Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to share his support, Governor Brown signed the bill into law.
In 2015, The California Assembly recognized Compassion & Choices’ work to pass California’s End of Life Option Act with a dedicated resolution.
Read the 2015 California Annual Report and learn more about our historic campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in California.
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.