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Thursday, 2 October 2014

California Voters Express Strong Support for Death-with-Dignity Option

Nearly two-thirds would favor allowing terminally ill adults to request and receive a prescription to end their suffering, reports Compassion & Choices
Nearly two-thirds of Californian voters would support a death-with-dignity measure that would give a mentally competent, terminally ill adult the right to request and receive a prescription for life-ending medication from a physician, a poll released today reveals. This medical practice is called aid in dying.
"We know that Californians overwhelmingly support death with dignity because we hear from them every day," said Toni Broaddus, California Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices, the nation's leading end-of-life choice advocacy organization. "Terminally ill Californians want and deserve access to medical assistance to make a peaceful, dignified death possible." 

The survey, conducted by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research for Compassion & Choices, shows nearly 64 percent of California likely 2014 voters would favor a death-with-dignity measure. Less than a quarter (24%) of voters would oppose the measure. Strong support (36%) outweighs strong opposition (17%) by more than a two-to-one margin. 

For the poll, Goodwin Simon Strategic Research completed 500 telephone interviews with registered California voters who reported they were likely to vote in November 2014. The survey was conducted from July 7 to July 10, 2014. The poll summary is here: bit.ly/CAdwdpollsummary and the full results are here: bit.ly/CAdwdpollresults.

Other findings of the survey include:
  • There is majority support for death-with-dignity legislation across nearly every demographic subgroup, including men, women, older voters, younger voters, whites and Latinos.
  • There is strong support across the political spectrum, with Democrats (75%), Independents (59%) and Republicans (53%) all expressing majority support for such a law.
  • The majority of voters surveyed strongly agreed with statements in support of death with dignity. For example, over two-thirds of voters (68%)—including 71 percent of Republicans— strongly agreed that the government has no right to make decisions for them if they are terminally ill.  A similar proportion (67%) strongly agree that if they are terminally ill, the decision about whether or not they end their life should be up to them and their family, under a doctor's care.
"California is clearly ready for a death-with-dignity law that allows the medical practice of aid in dying," added Broaddus. "Too many Californians are suffering needlessly.  Too many Californians are watching their loved ones endure relentless pain from the illnesses that will end their lives, pain that no medication can treat.  All Californians deserve the peace of mind that comes from just knowing they have this choice, to die peacefully and with dignity."

Death with dignity is an authorized end-of-life medical care option for terminally ill persons in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Compassion & Choices currently has campaigns to make death with dignity legitimate, open, and accessible in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

More information is available at: www.compassionandchoices.org

SOURCE Compassion & Choices
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