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California Right to Die Law Allows 111 Deaths in 6 Months

Image: California Right to Die Law Allows 111 Deaths in 6 Months

In this Sept. 11, 2015, file photo, Debbie Ziegler, mother of Brittany Maynard, speaks to the media after the passage of legislation, which would allow terminally ill patients to legally end their lives, at the state Capitol in Sacramento, California. (AP Photo/Carl Costas, File)

By    |   Wednesday, 28 Jun 2017 12:01 PM

California's Right to Die Law opened the door for 111 people to take their own lives using lethal prescriptions during the first six months of the law, state data released Tuesday said.

Satistics on those taking their lives appeared in some respects to mirror those in Oregon, which was the first state to legalize the practice almost 20 years ago, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The Times reported that physician-assisted deaths made up six out of every 10,000 deaths in California between June and December 2016, much lower than the 2016 rate in Oregon, where lethal prescriptions accounted for 37 per 10,000 deaths.

"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," Matt Whitaker, who works for Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group for the law, told the Times.

Alexandra Snyder, an attorney for Life Legal Defense Foundation and critic of the law, told the Times that there is no way to determine whether a patient was coerced into taking the drug.

"Patients are not required to have even a basic psychological evaluation prior to receiving a prescription for lethal drugs," a message on the Life Legal Defense website addressing assisted suicide said. "In California, terminally ill patients committed to mental institutions can request assisted suicide and be released so they can kill themselves.

"Patients in Oregon have been refused chemotherapy, but their insurance companies will pay for so-called 'aid-in-dying' drugs. Terminally ill patients are highly susceptible to even subtle suggestions that they are becoming too expensive or burdensome," the website statement continued.

The Sacramento Bee reported that 58.6 percent, of those who sought the drugs suffered from cancer, 18 percent had a neuromuscular disorder such as ALS and Parkinson's, and others had heart disease and respiratory diseases.

The Bee said that, according to the state statistics, that the median age of people using the new law was 73, with 42 percent age 80 and higher. The statistics also revealed that 102 out of the 111 who died were white, with Asians making up six of the total and blacks and Hispanics at three each, according to the Bee.

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California's Right to Die Law opened the door for 111 people to take their own lives using lethal prescriptions during the first six months of the law, state data released Tuesday said.
california, right to die, law
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2017-01-28
Wednesday, 28 Jun 2017 12:01 PM
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