On September 10, Senate Bill 380 passed as well the California State Assembly (by a floor vote of 47-14) as the California State Senate (with a vote of 26-8). The bipartisan bill would improve access to the End of Life Option Act.
End of Life Option act
The End of Life Option Act gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to request prescription medication they can decide to take to peacefully end unbearable suffering. The legislation included a provision that would expire at the end of 2025 unless new legislation is passed. SB 380 extends that sunset provision to 2031.
Expected changes to the End of Life Option act
If SB 380 becomes law, the following changes will be made in California to the End of Life Option Act:
- The mandatory minimum waiting period between the 1st and 2nd oral request will be reduced from 15 days to 48 hours (again, if we are successful, this will not happen until January 1, 2022).
- Healthcare systems and hospices will have to post their aid-in-dying policies on their websites.
- The final attestation form will be eliminated
- If a patient makes a request for medical aid in dying and their doctor cannot support them in it, the doctor will be required to tell the patient they will not support them, document the request in the patient’s medical record and transfer the patient’s medical records upon request.
- Clarify that medical aid in dying can be taken within a helathcare facility.
The bill now has to be signed by Governor Newsom. The Governor has until Oct. 10th to sign, veto or do nothing. If he signs it or does nothing, the bill will become law on January 1, 2022.
- CALIFORNIA STATE ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO IMPROVE END OF LIFE OPTION ACT | Compassion & Choices (compassionandchoices.org)
- CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE APPROVES BILL TO IMPROVE END OF LIFE OPTION ACT | Compassion & Choices (compassionandchoices.org)
- California moves to extend, streamline assisted death law (pressdemocrat.com)
- California lawmakers vote to speed process for terminally ill to end lives – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com)