Five states allow terminally ill patients the right to ask for medical help to plan their own deaths. California may become the sixth.
A bill in the Legislature would allow physicians to prescribe medications to give dying patients some control over when and how they die.
California lawmakers have tried and failed several times to get various versions of death-with-dignity bills signed into law. Proponents say if this attempt in the Legislature fails, they’ll try to get the issue before voters with a statewide ballot initiative.
The End of Life Options Act — SB 128, by state Sens. Lois Wolk (D-Davis) and William Monning (D-Carmel) — would make California the sixth state to approve right-to-die laws, following in the footsteps of Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington. Three states — Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey — have rejected similar legislation. State legislation is being proposed this year in several states in the wake of the much-publicized case of Californian Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregon to take advantage of Oregon’s right-to-die law. Maynard, who had an inoperable brain tumor, died in Oregon in November last year, using a lethal dose of barbiturates prescribed by her doctor.
We asked legislators, physicians, consumer advocates and scholars whether California should give terminally ill patients the right to choose how, when and where they die.
We received responses from: