Sen. Feinstein Endorses California End of Life Options Act
On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced her support for a California right-to-die bill (SB 128) that would allow doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication to patients with terminal illnesses, the Vallejo Times-Herald reports (Glidden, Vallejo Times-Herald, 3/17).
Details of Bill
The End of Life Options Act, by state Sens. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) and William Monning (D-Carmel), would give patients with terminal illnesses the right to seek life-ending medication from their doctor.
Specifically, the bill would require that:
- The medication is self-administered;
- The patient is mentally competent;
- Two physicians confirm the prognosis that the patient has six months or less to live;
- The patient's physician discusses alternatives and additional treatment options;
- The patient submits a written request and two oral requests made at least 15 days apart; and
- Two witnesses attest to the request.
In addition, the bill would require an interpreter for non-English speakers.
Pharmacists and doctors would be given legal immunity for participating and would be able to opt out (California Healthline, 1/21).
Wolk said that Feinstein's endorsement "is a big boost for our effort, sending a strong signal that the political momentum has shifted." She added, "When one of California's most respected, thoughtful and longest-serving political leaders takes the unusual step of speaking out in strong support of a bill like this, you know you are on the right track."
SB 128 will have its first hearing in the state Senate Health Committee on March 25 (Vallejo Times-Herald, 3/17).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.