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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 1:44 am | Fair 50º

 
 
 
 
Advice

End of Life Bill Passes California Legislature, Heads to Governor

California’s legislature approved a bill Friday that would allow physicians to administer aid-in-dying drugs to terminally ill people in order to end their lives, and the bill will now go to the governor’s desk for a signature.

The End of Life Option Act, or Senate Bill 128, was approved by the Senate Friday with a 23-14 vote. It is unclear whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the bill.

The bill would allow people suffering from a terminal disease to make a request from a physician for a drug with the purpose of ending that patient’s life. 

A terminal disease is defined in the law as an incurable, irreversible disease that will likely take someone’s life within six months.

One of the bill’s co-authors is Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, who said she was proud to be behind the bill and cast a vote in support.

“Today, we stood up for the many Californians who suffer or will suffer from a terminal illness and would like the choice to live their final days as they choose, without needless suffering, and want this compassionate option,” Jackson said in a statement Friday.

“Today, the Legislature heard their voices as well as those of the strong majority of Californians who support making this choice available.” 

The bill would require a patient to submit a written request for a lethal prescription as well as asking verbally twice, with a minimum of 15 days between the verbal requests.

A physician would receive the requests and the written request would have to be signed into front of two witnesses, who would ensure that the patient understands the implications, is acting voluntarily and is not being coerced.

The bill, heralded by “death with dignity” advocates as a move that would give patients the ability to end their lives on their own terms, has received scrutiny from some religious groups as well as disability advocates who have voiced concern about the potential for abuse.

Several states, including Oregon, already have similar laws. 

Oregon is where one California resident, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, moved so that she could end her legally end her life last year after receiving a terminal brain cancer diagnosis.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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