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Modeled after the 1997 Oregon law, this bill by Sen. Lois Wolk, Democrat-Davis, and Sen. William Monning, Democrat-Carmel, would

Give any terminally ill,

Mentally competent,

California adult resident,

the right to ask and receive from his or her physician a prescription to hasten death.

— The patient at any time could rescind the request or choose not to use the medication.

— It would be a felony to coerce someone to request the medication, or forge a request.

— The legislation exempts Catholic hospitals.

— Physicians, pharmacists and health care providers could opt out.

The legislation requires that:

-- The medication be self-administered.

-- The patient is mentally competent to make health care decisions, which excludes dementia patients.

-- Two physicians confirm a prognosis of six months or less to live.

-- The attending physician discusses alternatives or additional treatment, such as pain control and palliative and hospice care.

-- A written and two oral requests must be made at least 15 days apart.

-- Two witnesses attest to the request.

SB128 has two differences from the Oregon's Death with Dignity law. It requires a translator for non-English speakers. And pharmacists, not just physicians, are given legal immunity for participating in deaths.

Oregon’s 17 years of experience with the law shows it is rarely used and has not triggered any legal disputes. Since the Oregon law went into effect in 1997, 1,173 people have requested prescriptions and 752 have ingested the drugs to end their lives -- one out of every 500 deaths in the state. A majority had cancer; the average age of death was 71.

Support this bill     Contact Senator Monning at

California Senate Bill 128

End of Life Option Act