Have Legally Ended Their Lives Under California's New Right-To-Die Law, Report Says

California State Data on End of Life Option Act Confirms It is Working Well

Only 111 terminally ill patients took the life-ending drugs but, in fact, 191 prescriptions have been issued. The first report covers the period from the effective date of the law to the end of year (June 9, 2016 - December 31, 2016) and subsequent reports will be for full calendar years.

More than 100 people have legally ended their lives since California enacted a right-to-die law past year, according to a new report.

The law, first introduced in 2016, allows patients who are terminally ill to voluntarily take their lives.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation was one of the groups that filed a lawsuit last June claiming that the law was unconstitutional and violated the patients' civil rights by depriving them of protections given to other Californians. Of those, only 58 percent were actually used by patients and another 11 percent died without ingesting the drugs.

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Most people who took the aid-in-dying drugs were white, more precisely 102 out of 111.

A similar law has been in place in neighboring OR since 1997. "We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying". More than 94 percent of the patients had health insurance, including 57 percent on Medicare, Medicaid or California's Medi-Cal program.

The law gained support and momentum after California national Brittany Maynard left the state of California to move to Oregon, where she could legally acquire a life-ending prescription under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.

She also explained her advocacy others facing a similar fate, noting while she and her husband were able to move to OR to obtain end-of-life medication, "the vast majority of families do not have the flexibility, resources and time to make all these changes". Twenty-one of the 191 individuals who received the prescriptions died without using the drugs, while the status of the other 59 individuals is "undetermined".

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