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Los Angeles, CA, March 22, 2021 –  Actors Anna Camp and Joe Lo Truglio, who starred in the feature film “Here Awhile,” have partnered with Compassion & Choices Action Network to launch videos today urging Californians to urge their lawmakers to support  Senate Bill 380 to improve access to the End of Life Option Act and make it permanent. (VIDEO LINKS: Anna Camp; Joe Lo Truglio)

The End of Life Option Act gives mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live the option to request prescription medication they can decide to take to peacefully end unbearable suffering. The legislation included a provision that would expire at the end of 2025 unless new legislation is passed.

The release of the videos is timely because the California Senate Health Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing this Wednesday, March 24, 2021, on SB 380, co-authored by Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton). The legislation would remove regulatory roadblocks to access of the End of Life Option Act that impede or prevent hundreds of qualified terminally ill Californians from using medical aid-in-dying to peacefully end their suffering.

“I’m here to talk to you about urgently needed legislation that will prevent hundreds of terminally ill Californians each year from needlessly suffering at the end of life,” Anna Camp says in her video. “The legislation, Senate Bill 380, would make the End of Life Option Act permanent for all eligible terminal Californians and would also remove unnecessary obstacles to access it.”

“In the film ‘Here Awhile,’ my character, also named Anna, struggled with her decision about whether or not to use medical aid in dying to end her suffering, but ultimately, she decided she wanted to die on her own terms, instead of suffering until her very last breath,” Camp added. “Please join me in supporting SB 380, so all terminally ill Californians can have the compassionate end-of-life option that Anna had.”

In his video, Lo Truglio said, he “played the role of a close neighbor of a terminally ill young woman in the film ‘Here Awhile.’  In the movie, the main character, Anna, struggles with her decision to use medical aid to end her suffering. My character tells her, ‘I think the end of your life deserves respect, even if it’s an answer I don’t understand.’  I believe in those words.”

Lo Truglio concluded, “In the film, Anna was able to die peacefully surrounded by her loved ones on her own terms with medical aid. But life isn’t a movie, and we need your help. Please join me in supporting SB 380.”

Both videos note that SB 380 addresses three critical areas regarding the California End of Life Option Act, which took effect in 2016.

  • It eliminates the original law’s sunset clause, making it a permanent statute.
  • It also allows a physician to waive the mandatory minimum 15-day waiting period between the two oral requests for aid-in-dying medication if a patient is unlikely to survive for that long. 
  • And finally, it would require that healthcare providers communicate accurate, truthful information about this compassionate law to patients who request it.

The film, “Here Awhile,” directed by Tim True and written by True and Csaba Mera, was released in 2020 and is available to watch on Amazon Prime and Hulu. In the film, terminally ill Anna returns to reconnect with her long-estranged brother, while simultaneously making the heart-wrenching decision to end her life using Oregon’s end-of-life option law similar to California’s.

Since the End of Life Option Act took effect on June 9, 2016, data collected by the California Department of Public Health through December 31, 2019, shows that nearly 2,000 mentally capable, terminally ill individuals with six months or less to live have received a prescription for medical aid-in-dying medication to peacefully end unbearable suffering.

A study by Kaiser Permanente Southern California shows one-third of terminally ill adults who request to use the End of Life Option Act die before completing the time-consuming process, which includes a 15-day waiting period and often takes weeks or months to finish.” Using this one-third ratio, nearly 1,000 individuals statewide have died before obtaining a prescription (approximately 275 people on an annual basis) vs. the nearly 2,000 who completed the process and received prescriptions for medical aid-in-dying.

For more information, here is a fact sheet about SB 380.

ABOUT COMPASSION & CHOICES ACTION NETWORK/COMPASSION & CHOICES

Compassion & Choices is comprised of two organizations that improve care and expand options at life’s end: Compassion & Choices (501(c)(3)) educates, empowers, defends, and advocates; the Compassion & Choices Action Network (501(c)(4)) focuses exclusively on legislation, ballot campaigns, and limited electoral work.

Paid for by Compassion & Choices Action Network

CompassionAndChoices.org/California