California Right-to-Die Law Saw 111 People Kill Themselves in First Six Months

Debbie Ziegler mother of Brittany Maynard speaks to the media after the passage of legislation which would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives at the state Capitol in Sacramento Calif. C

111 terminally ill patients ended their lives in six months under California right to die law

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 a year ago to end their lives.

The End of Life Option Act allows qualified terminally ill adults in California the ability to obtain and self-administer aid-in-dying drugs.

While 111 of the 191 patients chose to take the pills by the end of the reporting period in December, another 21 individuals actually died before taking the drugs. Additionally, the report includes demographic information on these individuals, including age and underlying illness.

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The majority of those who have died under aid-in-dying laws in both states were white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60.

Data in the report comes from EOLA-mandated physician reporting forms and California death certificates.

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

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"Patients are not required to have even a basic psychological evaluation prior to receiving a prescription for lethal drugs", a message on the Life Legal Defense website addressing assisted suicide said. Of that group, 111 people were reported by physicians to have died after ingesting the drug. Doctor-assisted deaths are also legal in Vermont, Montana, Colorado, Washington state and Washington, D.C.

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

Christian Burkin, spokesperson for California Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman, said that the data may be limited, but the numbers show that the End of Life Option Act is being implemented the way Eggman and other authors of the law intended it to work.

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