On October 5, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing terminally ill patients in California the option to end their lives. The so-called Option to Die Act will not come into effect until sometime in 2016.
California joins Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico as the only states where medically aided suicide is legal.
How does the law work?
Only terminally ill patients can request the prescribed drugs that enable someone to die peacefully. The patient would need to acquire a prognosis of six months or less to live by two licensed physicians. The patient must be cognizant and competent to make his or her own health care decisions. The patient must then make two oral requests for the medications at least 15 days apart. These requests must be made in front of at least two witnesses, one of which cannot be a family member.