California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLOA)
“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death. I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”
— Governor Jerry Brown when signing the EOLOA into law
Eligibility Requirements to Access the Law:
Must be 18 years or older.
Must be of sound mind and exhibit appropriate decision-making capabilities to the attending physician.
Must be able to self-ingest the medication either orally or by pushing through an NG tube.
Must be diagnosed with a terminal disease, with a life expectancy of six months or less, by two physicians.
When the End of Life Option Act was signed by Governor Jerry Brown, and went into effect on June 9, 2016, it laid a solid foundation for all Californians to be supported in their end of life wishes. It represents a major step forward in the nationwide effort to change state laws to better reflect humane values. The new law was patterned after the country’s first ground-breaking law, Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, in effect since 1997. With the new law, California became the 7th and the largest state in the country to allow licensed physicians to legally prescribe a lethal dose of medication to decisionally-capable, terminally ill patients, 18 years or older, thoughtfully requesting medical aid-in-dying.
California Department of Public Health Annual Data Reports
LEGAL UPDATE: June 15, 2018
A California appeals court has reinstated the End of Life Option Act law, ruling that it can remain in effect, at least temporarily, while opponents’ legal challenges are considered. This means that terminally-ill Californians who meet specific requirements can once again legally obtain life-ending medications while the case works its way through the courts.
Request Volunteer Support
If you have questions about the law, or if you think you might be eligible, please contact one of our voluteers to assist you further.
If all of this seems overwhelming, know that you are not alone. Many people find accessing the law difficult. That’s why we are here to help. Our highly trained volunteers will help you and your family walk through the process from beginning to end. We can explain all legal end-of-life options available in California including the End of Life Option Act.