End of Life Option Act passes health committee

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

SACRAMENTO – A bill to provide terminally-ill Californians with the option to request aid-in-dying drugs from a physician passed from the special session health committee on Tuesday.

The bill, ABX2-15, called the End of Life Option Act, passed from the committee on a vote of 10 - 3.

An earlier version of the bill, SB 128, had stalled in a committee. Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman, D – Stockton, introduced this version following two recent Superior Court rulings that have underlined that it is the responsibility of the legislature, not the courts, to change the law.

Nearly identical to SB128, authored by State Senators Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and Lois Wolk (D-Davis), and would allow mentally-capable, terminally-ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for aid-in-dying drugs to painlessly and peacefully hasten their death. Monning and Wolk had successfully shepherded SB 128, through the Senate before running aground in the Assembly. They joined Eggman by co-authoring ABX2-15, along with joint authors Assembly members Luis Alejo, D – Watsonville, and Mark Stone, D – Scotts Valley.

The bill’s safeguards for patients and physicians were strong enough for the California Medical Association, which had earlier opposed the bill, to take a neutral position.

“The End of Life Option Act was fairly heard today and passed the test. The people of California, who are in overwhelming support of our effort, have been heard,” Eggman said.

The bill will next be heard in the Extraordinary Session on Health Care’s finance committee, before a vote on the Assembly floor.