California’s Death With Dignity Statute On Hold
The End of Life Options Act, California’s right-to-die-law for terminally-ill patients was suspended as of Friday, May 25, 2018. The issue at hand appears to center upon the manner in which this legislation was passed in a special session in 2015, rather, than, the legal considerations as to the act itself.
For terminally-ill patients as well as their loved ones in the State of California, this may be a very important development especially if there is any thought as to choosing this option, at least for the present time.
Other states that have Death with Dignity statutes in place include Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
In Montana, there is the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act which allows a terminally ill patient, at least 18 years of age and deemed to be mentally competent, to self-administer doctor prescribed medication. Unlike the other states, where death with dignity statutes were passed through voter referendum or through legislation, in Montana, the right for a terminally-ill patient to use prescribed life-ending medications was through a court case in 2009.
The State of Hawaii passed a Death with Dignity statute in 2018 and will go into effect on January 1, 2019. The District of Columbia also has a statute in place as well.
While I certainly respect those who hold views opposing Death with Dignity statutes or acts, sometimes referred to as “assisted suicide” or “right to die” initiatives, based upon my personal experiences as a caregiver for five loved ones over a 20 year period, if such options were available in California during their respective final life journeys, we would have at least discussed this as an possible option. Objectively speaking and from a position of compassion, I witnessed the occurrence of medical conditions that resulted in pain that was well beyond our ability to ensure daily quality of life with any pain medications.
At the same time, I can certainly appreciate the position of those with concerns about possible abuses of such options for terminally-ill patients.
Hugs to one and all!!!
The following is a link to the latest status of the California statute: