Current Status: Enacted
California’s End of Life Options Act, ABX2-15 (AB-15), took effect on June 9, 2016.
2021 AMENDMENT: SIGNED BY GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOME, OCTOBER 6, 2021; goes into effect January 1, 2022.
Senator Susan Eggman (D) introduced an amendment to California’s law, End of Life, SB380, on February 11, 2021. Effective beginning January 1, 2022, the amendment:
- Reduces the waiting period between the 1st and 2nd oral request from 15 days to 48 hours;
- Eliminates the final attestation form;
- Requires physicians who cannot or will not support patient requests to tell the patient they will not support them, document the patient’s request and provider’s notice of rejection in the patient’s medical record, and transfer the relevant medical record upon request;
- Prohibits a health care provider or health care entity from engaging in false, misleading, or deceptive practices relating to their willingness to qualify an individual or provide a prescription for an aid-in-dying medication to a qualified individual;
- Requires health care entities to post their current policy regarding medical aid in dying on their internet website;
- Extends the law’s repeal clause to January 1, 2031.
Resources and Additional Information
End of Life Choices California is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit offering education programs and information regarding California’s End of Life Option Act and all other legal end-of-life options to the healthcare community, hospices and the public. Trained volunteers also provide in-depth personal support and information to terminally-ill individuals and their families seeking help accessing the California law.
History of Death with Dignity in California
- Full text of the California End of Life Option Act
- California Governor Jerry Brown’s signing message of ABX2-15
- California Department of Public Health
- State Report Navigator
- “The Impact of Death with Dignity on Healthcare” – our white paper on the issue
- An August 2015 poll by UC Berkley’s Institute of Governmental Studies showed 76 percent of Californians support death with dignity legislation in their state.
- An October 2015 Stanford University poll showed 72.5 percent of Californians support the then-proposed law.
The California Medical Society changed its position on the then-proposed law from opposed to neutral in June 2015.
In the 2018 legislative session, the California legislature approved and Governor Brown signed into law AB-282 which amends the California penal code to “prohibit a person whose actions are compliant with the End of Life Option Act from being prosecuted for deliberately aiding, advising, or encouraging suicide.”
The law was challenged in courts immediately after going into effect on June 9, 2016. A January 23, 2020 ruling by the Riverside County Superior Court confirmed the plaintiffs in the lawsuit challenging the End of Life Option Act lack standing and that the law was passed in the state legislature appropriately.
- Riverside Superior Court’s case report for Ahn v. Hestrin
- California 4th Court of Appeal case report for Ahn v. Hestrin
- Death with Dignity’s Amicus Curiae Brief in Support of Defendants and Petitioners Attorney General of the State of California
- History of the legal challenge
How the End of Life Option Act Came to Be
The California law is a result of 25 years of work. Death with Dignity Political Fund has provided strategic support for the effort in California.