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Capitol Weekly Opinion: Keep, improve California’s End of Life Option Act

An excerpt from Dolores Huerta’s opinion editorial: 

We must ACT NOW to permanently reauthorize the End of Life Option Act, eliminate the impediments to access, but preserve the essential safeguards. That means passing Senate Bill 380, authored by Senator Talamantes Eggman, which will be heard in a Senate Health Committee hearing today (March 24).

Dolores Huerta in a yellow shirt holding a sign that says End-of-Life Options for ALL

Dolores Huerta at her daughters’ home in Los Angeles. Photo by J. Emilio Flores

The current law requires individuals and their healthcare team to comply with a lengthy, burdensome 13-step process. It takes a dying person several weeks to months to get through the process, if they are able to complete it and obtain the prescription at all. People who are dying do not have time to navigate this lengthy and difficult process.

These roadblocks and lack of access present the heaviest burdens for Latinos and underserved communities communities. Only four percent of Californians who utilized the law were Hispanic, despite the fact that Hispanics represent more than 39% of the state’s population. We need to ensure that all communities have equitable access to all of their end-of- life care options.

While Latinos only represent two percent of all hospice patients nationwide, the good news is Latinos represent 15 percent of hospice patients in California.

¡Si Se Puede! Yes We Can!

Editor’s Note: Dolores Huerta, co-f0under with Cesar Chavez of the United Farm Workers movement,  is a civil rights activist and president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. She was named one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Century’ in 2020.