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111 People Chose Death Under California's Assisted Suicide Law

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In 2016, one hundred and eleven people died after requesting and taking life-ending drugs under California's assisted suicide law.

Eighty-seven percent were sixty years or older. Most were white, college-educated and receiving hospice or palliative care.

California is one of five states that have legalized assisted suicide. Colorado, Montana, Vermont, Washington state and Washington, D.C. also allow the practice.

What happens in California could pave the way for other states considering similar legislation, but California health officials warn that it's still too early to draw major conclusions about how the law, known as the End of Life Option Act, is playing out.

The act went into effect June 9, 2016. Advocates say it can prevent slow, painful deaths but critics say it can promote hasty decisions and waning support for palliative care.

A recent Lifeway survey shows that many evangelicals don't believe that assisted suicide is morally acceptable, although the majority of Americans disagree.

Oregon adopted the first assisted suicide law in 1997. It reports that 133 people died last year after receiving life-ending drugs that the law allows.

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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim