Current Status: The End of Life Option Act Is In Effect
California’s physician-assisted dying law, ABX2-15 (AB-15), the End of Life Option Act, took effect on June 9, 2016 and is currently in effect.
On February 11, 2021, an amendment to California’s law, End of Life, SB380, was introduced by Senator Susan Eggman (D). The amendment, if passed, will reduce the 15-day wait period to 48 hours, and if the attending physician determines a patient will die before the end of the wait period, the 48 hours may be waived. The bill adds or clarifies additional language, including eliminating the January 1, 2026 repeal clause in Section 10.
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.
About the Statute
- 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
- “The Impact of Death with Dignity on Healthcare” – our white paper on the issue
About the Legal Challenge
- 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
Resources for Patients
- End of Life Choices California – nonprofit
- Forms for patients:
Resources for Healthcare Providers
- “Attending Physician Forms Submission Instructions” – instructions pamphlet [PDF]
- “Attending Physician’s Checklist & Compliance Form” [fillable PDF form]
- “Attending Physician’s Follow-up Form” [fillable PDF form]
- “Consulting Physician’s Compliance Form” [fillable PDF form]
- 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.
History of Death with Dignity in California
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. While the End of Life Option Act continues to be in effect, the case is still active in the California court system.
The 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.
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.