California Considers End of Life Bill

CA State Senator Lois Wolk introduced Senate Bill 128 on January 20, 2015, as lead author, to add new statutes to California’s Health and Safety Code relating to end of life.  Senate Bill 128 proposes to add new Part 1.85 of Division 1 of the Health and Safety Code, entitled “End of Life Option Act,” to be comprised of new Health and Safety Code sections 443 through 443.18. 

According to Senator Wolk’s press release  [], Senate Bill 128 is modeled after Oregon legislation and other states where aid-in-dying has been proven to be effective and successful and comes two months after the death of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard [].  Brittany was a Californian who moved to Oregon so that she could have the aid-in-dying option. 

This introduced version of Senate Bill 128 seeks to enact the “End of Life Option Act” to authorize an adult who meets certain qualifications and who has been determined by the attending physician to be suffering from a terminal illness, as defined, to make a request for medication prescribed pursuant to these newly-proposed provisions in order to end his or her life. 

Among its provisions, Senate Bill 128 establishes the procedures for making such requests and the forms to request aid-in-dying medication. Two of its protective provisions would prohibit a contract, will or other agreement, or a health care service plan contract, or health benefit plan contract, from including language that was conditioned upon or affected by a person making or rescinding a requesting for aid-in-dying medication.  Senate Bill 128 would also prohibit the sale, procurement, or issuance of any life, health, or accident insurance or annuity policy, or the rate charged for any policy, from being conditioned upon or affected by such a request. 

Brittany’s husband was quoted in Senator Wolk’s press release as follows:

Having aid-in-dying as an end of life option provided great relief to Brittany,” said Dan Diaz, Brittany’s widower.  “It enabled my wife to focus on living her last days to the fullest, rather than having to worry about dying in agony from terminal brain cancer. I promised Brittany I would do everything in my power to fulfill her mission to make this end of life option available to all Californians.”

LIS will be watching this bill as it progresses through the state legislature. 


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