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New State Bill Streamlines Assisted Suicide Approval Process

SACRAMENTO (CBS SF/BCN) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Tuesday intended to streamline the state's process of approving requests by terminally ill patients to end their lives.

Senate Bill 380 will reduce the current mandatory minimum 15-day waiting period between requests for assisted suicide medication to 48 hours and will require health care providers to post their assisted suicide policies on their websites.

A 2018 study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California found that roughly one-third of nearly 400 terminally ill people who requested assisted suicide medication died during the 15-day waiting period.

Newsom signed SB 380 six years to the day that former Gov. Jerry Brown signed the state's End of Life Option Act, which first gave terminally ill but mentally capable people the option of ending their life via prescribed medication.

Assemblyman Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa, and state Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, D-Stockton, co-authored the law, which received support from advocacy groups like the Compassion and Choices Action Network.

"We cannot thank Gov. Gavin Newsom enough for his support of this compassionate act," Compassion and Choices Action Network President and CEO Kim Callinan said in a statement. "With his signature, eligible terminally ill adults will soon be able to more easily access the End of Life Option Act without needless suffering and unnecessary roadblocks."

The provisions of SB 380 will take effect after Jan 1, 2022.

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