October 7, 2022 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

The Results Are In: The First 6 Months of California’s End-of-Life Law

BY DOUG MONTGOMERY| One hundred and eleven people took their own lives in California over the first six months of a new law that permits physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, according to recently released data.

The End of Life Option Act is the fifth such law in the country allowing mentally capable patients with less than six months to live the option of requesting lethal drugs from their doctors. California’s law, which took effect last year, resembles a similar law in Oregon that was passed almost two decades earlier.

The new data reveals a preference for the option among white, college-educated cancer patients older than 60. The same held true in Oregon.

The two states differed in the number of people who took advantage of the option, however. In California, physician-assisted deaths only accounted for five out of every 10,000 deaths between June and December 2016—much lower than Oregon, where intentional deaths accounted for 37 per 10,000 deaths.

The discrepancy could be explained in part by the novelty of California’s law.

The choice to take one’s life still remains deeply personal despite its legality. Although doctors wrote 191 prescriptions for the pills, only 111 patients used them by the end of December.

Often, the pills provide comfort and peace-of-mind to patients who know that if their pain worsens they have the option to end their lives, according to Dr. Tom Strouse, a UCLA psychiatrist and palliative care doctor who spoke to The Los Angeles Times.

Terminally ill patients “want the option of saying, ‘That’s not how I’m going to live,’” Strouse said. “It’s a contingency planning approach, really.”

Even with the passage of the law, the issue of physician-assisted suicide remains hotly contested.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation, a legal group is currently challenging the law in court, has argued about the law that “State-sanctioned suicide sends the message that some lives are not worth living.”

Alexandra Snyder, the Executive Director of the Life Legal Defence Foundation, claimed in a statement, “The End of Life Option Act is a dangerous law that exposes vulnerable individuals to direct and indirect pressure to commit suicide.”

Under the law, doctors are barred from bringing up the drugs with their patients to avoid even the appearance of pressure. Patients instead must initiate the conversation themselves.

Advocates of the law praised the data in the new study. “The state’s data show that even during the early months of the law’s implementation, the law was working well and terminally ill Californians were able to take comfort in knowing that they had this option to peacefully end intolerable suffering,” said Matt Whitaker, the State Director for the end-of-life advocacy group Compassion & Choices.

Related Posts

California Trans Child Molester Gets 2 Years In Juvenile Facility

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A Los Angeles County judge ordered Hannah Tubbs, a transgender California woman, to serve two years in a juvenile facility...

Homeless Initiative Meeting In West Hollywood

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood’s Homeless Initiative works to address homelessness with a multi-disciplinary, multi-agency, collaborative response. It’s estimated that...

WeHo Premieres the ‘Moving Image Media Art’ Exhibition Series

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood announces the premiere of the Moving Image Media Art (MIMA) program and the worldwide debut...

LA Street Will Potentially Be Named After Anti-LGBTQ Singer

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

A portion of Bailey Street may be renamed to the late Mexican Mariachi singer ” Vicente Fernandez Street’ – a...

WeHo Spreads Word About Free Covid Testing

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood is reminding residents that free COVID-19 testing is available for them.  Demand for COVID-19 testing...

Green Qween New Queer-Owned Cannabis Shop Will Open Downtown

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

Green Qween, a new queer-owned and queer-driven cannabis shop, will open in downtown on April 20th.  The shops owners, Andrés...

2022 ‘WeHo Reads’ Series Celebrates the ‘Road to Joy’

February 2, 2022

February 2, 2022

The City of West Hollywood invites community members to celebrate literature and local authors with its 2022 WeHo Reads literary...

New Injectable HIV Prevention Drug Approved By FDA

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first long-acting injectable medication for use as pre-exposure prevention, or PrEP, against...

New CA Law Helps With Transgender Deadnames

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

A new California law requires public colleges to update diplomas and records for transgender students who have changed their names....

MJ Rodriguez, 1st Openly Transgender Actress to Win Golden Globe

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Michaela Jae “MJ” Rodriguez has made history by becoming the first openly transgender person to win a Golden Globe.  The...

Animal Shelter Donations In Honor Of Betty White

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Animal shelter donations have increased exponentially in honor of late actress gay icon and animal lover Betty White. Over the...

AIDS/LifeCycle 2022 Needs More Volunteers

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

AIDS LifeCycle is back with more than $4 million raised so far for the 2022 ride benefitting the HIV/AIDS-related services...

Long Beach Named One of the Best LGBTQ Cities

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

For the 10th year in a row Long Beach has been named one of the best cities in the nation...

Gay Wedding At Dodger Stadium

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Eric Braverman and Jonathan Cottrell will exchange vows at Dodger Stadium. Showing the progress the LA Dodgers have made as...

LGBTQ Haven in Long Beach

January 18, 2022

January 18, 2022

Long Beach is quickly becoming more and more of a safe haven for LGBTQ individuals with its queer spaces exploding...