Poll: Majority of California Voters Support Physician-Assisted Death
The majority of California voters support physician-assisted death, which Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law earlier this week, according to a new Field Poll, the Los Angeles Times' "PolitiCal" reports.
The poll surveyed 1,002 registered voters in California from Sept. 17 through Oct. 4 -- the day before Brown signed ABX2-15 (Willon, "PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/6).
Assembly member Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) introduced the legislation during a special session on health care financing.
ABX2-15 will allow some dying patients to end their lives through lethal doses of medication, as long as:
- Medication is self-administered;
- The patient is mentally competent; and
- Two physicians confirm the prognosis that the patient has six months or less to live.
Several amendments were added to the bill in the special session, including one that requires patients to reaffirm their consent within 48 hours prior to taking the lethal dose of medication.
The bill's authors also added an amendment to sunset the law after a decade, making it effective only until Jan. 1, 2026. However, the state Legislature could vote to extend it.
The law will not take effect until 90 days after the Legislature's special session ends (California Healthline, 10/6).
The poll found that 65% of respondents said they favored legalizing physician-assisted death, while 28% said they were opposed ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/6).
The measure also had bipartisan support, including from:
- 70% of Democrats, compared with 23% who opposed the measure; and
- 55% of Republicans, compared with 39% who opposed the measure.
Support was fairly even among all age groups, ranging from 62% to 66%.
Meanwhile, more white non-Hispanic voters supported the measure than Latinos, at 70% and 56%, respectively (Field Poll, 10/6).
Religion also played a role, with 50% of born-again Christians opposing the measure, while 41% said they supported it. According to the poll, this was the only group in which opposition outweighed support. In comparison, more Catholics supported the law than opposed it, by a margin of 50% to 40% ("PolitiCal," Los Angeles Times, 10/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.