California’s End of Life Option Act

California has become the fifth state in the nation to legalize aid-in-dying through a law called the End of Life Option Act.  This law permits a competent, terminally-ill patient to request a prescription for a drug that can be used to end his or her life.  Participation in the law is entirely voluntary for physicians, patients, pharmacists and others.  Patients and physicians who choose to participate must carefully follow the steps outlined in the law in order for their actions to be considered lawful and appropriate.

Below we have provided resources and information about the law.  These resources are intended to provide basic information only and do not constitute legal advice, nor do they substitute for the advice of a lawyer.  The Consortium does not necessarily endorse the institutional policies listed or referenced on this website- they are provided for public education purposes only.

For information about your specific situation, we recommend that you consult the policies of the institution/s at which you provide or receive care and seek guidance from institutional counsel or ombudsman as appropriate.  Note that if you provide or receive care at multiple facilities, those facilities may have different policies.

About California’s End of Life Option Act

Two-Page Factsheet (PDF)

Full text of California’s End of Life Option Act

Videos, commentary, and other resources from the End of Life Option Act Task Force

Video: The End of Life Option Act—Clinical and Legal Implications

Institution-Specific Policies & Resources

The law allows institutional providers (for instance, a hospital or health system) to opt out of the law.  This means that an institutional provider (for instance, a hospital) can prohibit physicians and others working at their facilities from assisting patients with aid in dying.  Opt-out institutions cannot prevent physicians from providing information about the law, but can prevent other actions such as prescribing the drug.

Learn where California institutions stand on the law.  Note that most institutions are still developing official policies as of the implementation date of the law (June 9, 2016).  We will post information about these policies as they become public.

Institutions that Permit Physicians to Participate

Institutions that Prohibit Physicians and Others from Participating
Note that these institutions cannot prohibit physicians or others from giving information about the Act to patients.


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