The California End of Life Option Act

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About the End of Life Option Act

The California End Of Life Option Act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October 5, 2015. The law authorizes the practice of medical aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults who request from their physician and qualify for a prescription for life-ending medication. The law will took June 9, 2016.

Read the 2015 California Annual Report and learn more about our historic campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in California.

How do I Access a Prescription?

Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for medical aid in dying under California’s law, a person must be:

  • An adult
  • Terminally ill
  • Given a prognosis of six months or less to live
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions

A person must also be:

  • A resident of California
  • Acting voluntarily
  • Making an informed decision that includes being given information about all other end-of-life options
  • Informed that they may choose to obtain the aid-in-dying prescription but not take it
  • Capable of self-administering and ingesting the medication

In addition to the requirements listed above, certain steps must be followed in order for a person to qualify for aid-in-dying medication. The average length of time between requesting and receiving a prescription is between 15 days to three months and requires at least two doctor visits. Therefore, it is important for individuals to talk to their doctors early to see whether the doctor is willing to write a prescription. We encourage everyone to begin this conversation now.

Where can I Learn More?

For California Residents

California End of Life Option Act Information for State Residents Factsheet

California End of Life Option Act Frequently Asked Questions Factsheet

About the Access Campaign

State Forms

Patient’s Request for Aid-in-Dying Drug

Interpreter’s Declaration

For more information on the full range of end-of-life options visit the Compassion & Choices End of-Life-Information Center.

For Medical Providers

The California Access Campaign seeks to provide technical assistance to healthcare providers so they can more fully support their patients.

Resources are currently being produced and will be added here as they become available. Check back often.

For Doctors

Clinical Criteria for Physician Aid in Dying and supplementary clinical information: Current best practices as published by the Journal of Palliative Medicine in December 2015.

California Hospital Association End of Life Option Act Handout: A comprehensive guide for healthcare systems, hospices, physicians and pharmacists on the California End of Life Option Act.


About Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding choice for the end of life.