Californians, State Papers Voice Their Support for the End of Life Option Act

June 15, 2018

Since a California court granted a motion on May 15 to invalidate the End of Life Option Act and subsequently suspended the law on May 24, numerous state newspapers have published columns, editorials and op-eds in support of the law and opposing this unjustified ruling.

These opinion pieces reflect the fact that polling shows more than three out of four Californians (76%) support medical aid in dying. Below are highlights:

The New York Times op-ed by Diane Rehm, “Let Dying People End Their Suffering,” June 7, 2018

“What’s happening in California now is an unnecessary tragedy. Judge Ottolia’s decision is being appealed, and a hearing will be held later this month. But it could take many months to play out in the courts — months during which dying patients will be denied the option to mitigate their pain and distress.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial, “Don’t let a technicality leave California’s sick and dying in the lurch,” May 31, 2018

“California needs this compassionate and sensible law, which has provisions to protect against anyone being coerced into prematurely ending their lives. In fact, during a legislative hearing in January, healthcare providers and family members of dying patients testified that it may be too difficult to access the law, not too easy.”

The Mercury News editorial, “Court should recognize health of California’s right-to-die law,” May 30, 2018

“Giving terminal patients the option to choose to end life on their own terms is not harmful. Anyone who has watched a loved one waste away after enduring months of wrenching pain knows this. It’s an act of compassion that the court should recognize as the final, healthy act of those of sound mind seeking to end their lives free of pain.”

The Press Democrat column/editorial by editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group, Sal Rodriguez, “California’s death-with-dignity law should stand,” May 23, 2018

“This is an option for individuals who are suffering, of sound mind and capable of making decisions for themselves. So long as the law isn’t be[ing] abused, there is no legitimate reason opponents should be able to use the force of government to prevent such people from making such a profoundly personal decision.”

 The Sacramento Bee op-ed by Erwin Chemerinsky, dean and professor of law at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, “We each deserve the right to die with dignity. Reinstate the End of Life Option Act,” May 21, 2018

“Each of us should have the right to die with dignity. The California End of Life Option Act is a crucial safeguard of that right and should be upheld in the courts.”

San Diego Union-Tribune op-ed by Kelly Davis and Dan Diaz, “California’s end of life law helped our families. It should be restored,” May 18, 2018

(Kelly Davis and Dan Diaz have both lost loved ones, Dan’s wife, Brittany Maynard, to cancer and Kelly’s sister, Betsy Davis, to ALS. They both utilized medical aid in dying. Brittany left her home state of California in 2014 to travel to Oregon to utilize its medical Death with Dignity Act before California passed the End of Life Option Act in 2015, and Betsy was able to access California’s End of Life Option Act after it took effect in 2016.)

“The plaintiffs in this case seem determined to send us backwards to darker times when end-of-life medical options sometimes left patients worse off, or put caregivers and family members at risk of prosecution.”

 Monterey Herald op-ed by Senator Bill Monning, California’s Senate majority leader and co-author of the End of Life Option Act, “Invalidating the End of Life Option is just wrong,” May 17, 2018

“As local Monterey County residents have availed themselves of the compassionate empowerment offered by the Act, it is confounding to understand why those who oppose the Act would seek to impose their will on the human right of the terminally ill to exercise voluntary control over their own medical decisions.”

The Los Angeles Times editorial, “California’s historic and successful right-to-die law is itself on life-support,” May 16, 2018

“California’s right-to-die law is nothing less than historic, certainly one of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the last several years … It would be a terrible next chapter if this ruling is allowed to deprive Californians of the right to make such an extraordinarily important decision for themselves. With luck, the ruling will be quickly overturned on appeal. If not, the Legislature should move immediately to pass a new bill.”

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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.