When California Governor Jerry Brownon October 5 signed the End of Life Option Act into law, he made California the fourth state to enact a Death with Dignity statute and the fifth where the end-of-life option is legal.
“This is a monumental step forward for all Americans who want the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions as well as for the entire Death with Dignity movement,” said our Executive Director Peg Sandeen. “Californians will now enjoy the same autonomy, freedom and peace of mind at the end of their lives as the residents of Oregon, Washington, and Vermont.”
With the Governor’s signature, thirty-nine million Californians joined the residents of Oregon, Washington, Vermont as well as Montana, where physician-assisted dying is legal by State Supreme Court decision, in having the option, should they be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, to end their lives in a humane and dignified manner.
“The magnitude of our victory cannot be understated,” concurred Death with Dignity Vice President George Eighmey. “All along the West Coast qualified individuals now have the option to die with dignity at the time when polls show that more and more people across the nation want to make their own decisions about how to live their last days.”
Modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the California End of Life Option Act will allow adult residents of the Golden State who have had two doctors confirm a terminal diagnosis to fill a prescription medication to end their lives in a peaceful and dignified manner at the time and place of their choosing. The Act will likely go into effect in January 2016.
“The Oregon law has been implemented carefully and worked exactly as intended for 18 years,” Sandeen said. “The time was right for California to adopt this law.”
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