Over 100 People End Their Lives Under California's "Right To Die" Law

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

A little over 75% of the 111 people, were 60-89 years of age, and 89.5% were white. The report found that 21 people died of underlying causes, while outcomes were undetermined for 59 individuals who received prescriptions.

The new law made the Golden State the fifth state in the country to allow certain patients to request life-ending drugs from their doctors.

The End of Life Option Act was passed in California shortly after Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, had to move from San Francisco to OR with her husband so she could die with dignity in November 2014.

On Tuesday, in its first-ever mandated statistical report on California's aid-in-dying law, the state Department of Public Health cataloged illnesses, ages and other data, but it began with a total: 111 terminally ill adults took doctor-prescribed drugs past year to end their lives.

"The state's data show that even during the early months of the law's implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering", Matt Whitaker, who works for Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group for the law, told the Times.

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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. The Department of Public Health must gather information on those who take or seek taking these aid-in-dying drugs.

A similar law has been in place in neighboring OR since 1997. Most were receiving hospice, had health insurance and were college educated.

At the time, OR was one of the only states that allowed physician-assisted suicide, including Vermont and Washington.

The life-ending drugs must be self-administered without the help of family members, friends or doctors.

Doctors had prescribed life-to-end drugs to around 191 patients.

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