More than 100 people exercise California’s new right to die

June 28, 2017

A total of 111 people took life-ending pills over the last seven months of 2016 under California right-to-die law. [USA Today]

The law took effect on June 9, 2016. A newly released report by the California Department of Health accounts for the terminally ill individuals who participated in the state’s assisted suicide program between June 9 and Dec. 31.

During that period, 191 people who had six months or fewer to live received life-ending prescriptions. Of that group, only 111 had taken the pills by the end of last year.

According to the state report, 58.6 percent of the 111 people who died had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and 18 percent were suffering from neuromuscular disorders like ALS and Parkinson’s. A little more than 75 percent of those who died were between the ages of 60 to 89.

The majority of the individuals who took life-ending medication had at least some college education, and 89.5 percent of them were white.

Matt Whitaker, the state director of the group Compassion & Choices, said the statistics show California’s new law is working as it should.

“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,” Whitaker said.







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12 Comments

  1. Otis says:

    “people who had six months or fewer to live received life-ending prescriptions”

    Given that is the law in determining who is terminal, I suggest that in being in my 87th year anyone who is 87 or older is terminal. Getting old aint for sissies. So why shouldn’t I have the right to “end it all” with dignity given the complaint that getting old is degrading physically, emotionally and economically.

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • demiseofslo says:

      Hang in there man! My great grandma lived to be 101

      (5) 5 Total Votes - 5 up - 0 down
    • MrYan says:

      You make a good case Otis. You should be able to do that if you so choose.

      But are you really making that argument? I would suspect from other postings that you feel otherwise.

      (1) 3 Total Votes - 2 up - 1 down
      • Otis says:

        Respectfully, MrYan, You understand – for life is precious. My statement is not intended to be a “self fulfilling rationalization”. All the friends of my youth and the plurality I have known professionally are gone. Acknowledging this, I am comforted by the writings of Thomas Gray in his “Elegy written in A Country Churchyard”, that by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “A Psalm of Life”, and of those of the Apostle Paul in Romans 6 and 8 that confirm the promise of Eternal Life to those who believe in Christ’s resurrection. The temporal experience may end here but a greater adventure is assured subject to His judgment.

        (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
    • Rambunctious says:

      Just make sure and take them off of the voter rolls…

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  2. Chris R says:

    Good point, copperhead- a good example of this would be Cary Stayner, who murdered four women in Yosemite- one of whom was beheaded. Stayner was convicted in 2002 and with an initial estimated cost of the process at 1.26 million, and at 15 years on death row at an estimated 90k annually, taxpayers have doled out an impressive $1,350,000. But there in lies the politics of the death penalty SMH

    (8) 10 Total Votes - 9 up - 1 down
  3. r0y says:

    Hopefully this may spark a trend in Sacramento?

    OK, that’ was a bit sophomoric, but still… one can hope while joking, no?

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
  4. copperhead says:

    Maybe this wonder drug will help the state accelerate executing the death penalty for those on death row. Save the taxpayer a few bucks for a change.

    (20) 24 Total Votes - 22 up - 2 down
  5. bradleywilliams says:

    So how many self administered the poison like the concept was marketed? By omitting an ordinary witness all the safeguards are rendered hollow.
    State Documents in Oregon indicate that 20% of their assisted suicide deaths were bullied by the corporate facilitators forcing the poison.
    60%, even the religious, favor the concept then 95% change to not-in-favor after they learn how easily the laws can be wrongly administered Risking us all,all ages, to be exploited by predatory corporations and predatory new best friends or heirs.
    Read the language of the laws to decern the double speak, omissions and commissions.

    (-15) 19 Total Votes - 2 up - 17 down
    • MrYan says:

      Sure would like to see that “State” document acknowledging that they “bullied” patients into taking life ending drugs.

      I would bet; in that document it is most likely that the word “bullying” is replaced with “counseled as to their end of life choices”. Which is an appropriate thing to do.

      Don’t use doublespeak if you are going to complain about doublespeak.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  6. Ted Slanders says:

    Facetiously, thank Yahweh of the Christian faith that California is not predominately either Catholic, or has a large conservative Christian presence that would have made this law harder to pass. Therefore, with California’s Right-to-Die Act, reason was implemented to allow a person with a painful terminal illness the option to end their lives their way, and on their terms and location.

    (13) 21 Total Votes - 17 up - 4 down
  7. CentralcoastRN says:

    I see no problem with this. People with terminal illnesses should be given the dignity and right to decide when they have had enough suffering.

    (32) 38 Total Votes - 35 up - 3 down

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