Since 2016, after the right-to-die law came into effect, California health official say that 111 terminally ill people have legally ended their lives.
The data came out in the first report by the California Department of Health, when End of Life Option came into effect on June 9, 2016. The report said that between June 9, 2016, and Dec 31, 2016, 191 people received life-ending prescriptions. These 1919 people had six months or fewer to live. The report further said that out of these 191, only 111 took the pills by the end of the reporting period.
Elaborating further, of the 111 who died, 58.6% were on the final stage of cancer and 18% suffered from disorders like ALS and Parkinsons. Almost 75% of these 111 people were between 60 to 89 years of age and 89.5% were white. The majority of these had at least some college education.
Oregon adopted the similar legislation in 1997 and U.S. doctor-assisted deaths are currently legal in Vermont, Washington, Montana and Colorado. California’s law gained force after Brittany Maynard shifted from California to Oregon. There she would get the right to die legally with the medication under Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Maynard, who suffered from stage 4 malignant brain tumor, breathed her last on Nov 1, 2014.
According to Matt Whitaker, State Director of Compassion and Choices, the law is working as it should. He says “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,” he said in a statement. “… We continue to work to ensure that every terminally ill Californian has equal access to all end-of-life care options, including hospice, pain control, palliative care and medical aid in dying.”