California End of Life Option Act
Effective June 9, 2016

California's End Of Life Option Act authorizes the practice of medical aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults who request from their physician and qualify for a prescription for life-ending medication. Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2015, the law went into effect June 9, 2016. 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for medical aid in dying under California’s law, an individual must be:

  • An adult
  • Terminally ill
  • Given a prognosis of six months or less to live
  • Mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions

An individual must also be:

  • A resident of California
  • Acting voluntarily
  • Making an informed decision that includes being given information about all other end-of-life options
  • Informed that they may choose to obtain the aid-in-dying prescription but not take it
  • Capable of self-administering and ingesting the medication

In addition to the requirements listed above, certain steps must be followed in order for a person to qualify for aid-in-dying medication. The average length of time between requesting and receiving a prescription is between 15 days to three months and requires at least two doctor visits. Therefore, it is important for individuals to talk to their doctors early to see whether the doctor is willing to write a prescription. 

Information and Resources

Multiple resources for consumers and health care providers have been developed by Compassion and Choices | California Access these resources at:

Read Bill's  Full Text

Informational Video

Supplemental Articles:

Clinical Criteria for Physician Aid in Dying 

Mental Health Outcomes of Family Members of Oregonians Who Request Physician Aid in Dying