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November 24
2003 - Ruth Newhall, longtime co-owner/editor of The Signal, dies in Berkeley [story]


Lead plaintiff Christy O'Donnell of Santa Clarita participates in a post-hearing news conference in San Diego. (Photo: Compassion & Choices)

File Photo of the End of Life Act advocate, Christy O’Donnell of Valencia.  (Photo: Compassion & Choices)

Terminally ill Californians will have the option to legally end their lives with doctor prescribed medication in nearly three months.

State lawmakers closed a special session regarding health care on Thursday, allowing the End of Life Option Act, which grants terminally-ill patients the right to request physician-assisted suicide, to go into effect on June 9.

This ends months of uncertainty for patients hoping to use the method and makes California the fifth state in the nation to adopt the practice.

“This development is great news for terminally ill Californians because they soon will have the option to end unbearable end-of-life suffering by taking prescription medication to die gently in their sleep,” said Toni Broaddus, California campaign director for ‘Compassion & Choices’–an advocacy group in favor of physician-assisted suicide, according to a press release published on the Compassion & Choices website following the news.

The legislation had passed early October of last year following the highly publicized case involving Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life in 2014.

Another big proponent of passing the law was Christy O’Donnell, a 47-year-old Valencia resident and former LAPD sergeant and lawyer, who strongly supported the passing of the legislation after she was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer and brain, liver, lung, rib and spine cancer in June 2014.

She strongly advocated the End of Life Option Act, and was the lead plaintiff in a suit that helped move California to pass the law which gave terminally ill patients the option of medical aid in dying. O’Donnell died in early February at her Valencia home.

Opponents of the law say it will allow for premature suicides.

The law requires for patients to have two separate meetings with a physician before a doctor can prescribe the life-ending medication. It also requires physicians to refer patients with possible mental health issues to mental health care providers. Certified translators are also required to be provided for non-English speakers.

Religious institutions, such as Catholic hospitals, are allowed to opt-out of the law or ban their doctors from aiding in assisted deaths.

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2 Comments

  1. Sean Cohen Sean Cohen says:

    Boy aren’t we just progressing as a society.

  2. Bradley says:

    Your source has done you a disservice. The promoters of assisted suicide have worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our MT Supreme Court ruled that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The Court did not address civil liabilities and they vacated the lower court’s claim that it was a constitutional right. Unlike Oregon no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution and investigations are not prohibited like Oregon. Does that sound legal to you?
    Perhaps the promotors are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015. They got nothing for their investment to buy a license to sift through our seniors for their wind fall profit.

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