SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Over 100 people ended their lives last year after California’s assisted suicide bill went into law in June, a new report shows.
The California Department of Public Health recently released its 2016 data report, which provided information on the results of California’s End of Life Option Act (EOLA). The Act went into law on June 9, 2016 after being signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October 2015, and allows patients deemed terminally ill to request lethal drugs from their physician to hasten their death.
“From June 9, 2016 through December 31, 2016, 258 individuals started the end-of-life option process, as set forth in the Act, by making two verbal requests to their physicians at least 15 days apart,” the report outlines.
“173 unique physicians prescribed 191 individuals aid-in-dying drugs. Of the 191 individuals who were prescribed such drugs, 111, or 58.1 percent, were reported by their physician to have died following ingestion of aid-in-dying drugs prescribed under EOLA,” it notes.
Another 21 died without the drugs and the remaining 59 have no update recorded, the report explains.
The majority of those who died from the lethal drugs were between the ages of 60-89 and 58 percent had been diagnosed with cancer. Most were enrolled in hospice or were receiving palliative care. 18 percent had ALS or Parkinson’s Disease, 8 percent suffered from heart disease, and 6 percent had non-cancerous lung ailments. Another 9 percent was simply marked “other.”
Aid in dying advocacy groups cheered the results of the report, saying that they were thankful that the option was available for the terminally ill.
“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,” Compassion & Choices California Director Matt Whitaker 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,” he said.
However, pro-life groups expressed sorrow over the statistics, lamenting the culture of death that euthanasia can usher into the medical industry.
“Once normalized, like other forms of social deviance, the practice is certain to spread. In time, it will not be merely the terminally ill, but rather people who are depressed, or labeled undesirable. The elderly, who have little left to contribute to society would be among the first ordinary victims of such changing attitudes,” said the California Network in a statement.
“In this way, our doctors become killers as much as healers. We learn to dispose instead of fix. We place things like money and ease above life itself,” it sorrowed.
The organization pointed to the expansion of “right to die” allowances in Belgium and the Netherlands.
“In those countries, children and people who are physically healthy are now allowed to commit suicide. Parents are killing children because their children have mental or physical handicaps,” it noted.
“This is the path to a disordered society,” the group opined. “It is diabolical. It is so evil that not even the pagan Romans flirted with the concept. The normalization of suicide causes human life, which can be created only by a miracle of God, to be in competition with worldly decadence.”
As previously reported, following the enactment of the End of Life Option Act, the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) filed a lawsuit on behalf of five Californian doctors, as well as the American Academy of Medical Ethics (AAME), which represents over 600 doctors in the state. The case is currently moving forward in court after a motion to dismiss, filed by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, was denied this month.