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Progressives call push to change Constitution "risky," Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire; new report compares ways NY can get cleaner air, help disadvantaged communities.

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House Speaker McCarthy aims to pin a shutdown on White House border policies, President Biden joins a Detroit auto workers picket line and the Supreme Court again tells Alabama to redraw Congressional districts for Black voters.

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An Indigenous project in South Dakota seeks to protect tribal data sovereignty, advocates in North Carolina are pushing back against attacks on public schools, and Arkansas wants the hungriest to have access to more fruits and veggies.

Report Examines Who's Using Calif. Aid-In-Dying Law

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Friday, July 10, 2020   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - More patients with terminal illnesses in California are making their decisions to end their suffering using the state's aid-in-dying law.

The number last year was 405, compared to 337 people the year before, according to a new report from the California Department of Public Health.

Samantha Trad, California state director of the nonprofit Compassion & Choices says the law is working as intended. But she believes it would be even more effective if California doctors were allowed to make exceptions to the waiting period, like they can in Oregon.

"The main doctor who ends up writing the prescription can actually waive the mandatory minimum 15 day waiting period in Oregon," says Trad, "if the patient is unlikely to survive the waiting process."

A study done by Kaiser Permanente of Southern California showed that one third of patients who request the medication die before completing the lengthy application process.

The new report from the state also found big disparities in who actually uses the law. The patients are 87% white.

Just over 1% are Black. Four percent are Hispanic. And 6.4% percent are Asian American.

Patricia González-Portillo, national Latino communications and constituency director with Compassion & Choices, says the low number of Latino patients may be the result of this group, in particular, ending up in religious hospitals that don't allow their doctors to participate in medical aid-in-dying.

"There are some Latinos that don't want to suffer at the end of life," says González-Portillo. "They want that option to be able to take a medication, surrounded by their loved ones, and die peacefully. Not be forced to suffer at the end of life. We want those options."

She says Compassion & Choices is currently running a series of public service announcements on TV and social media across the state, to raise awareness in communities of color of the option of medical aid-in-dying. These are also posted on the organization's YouTube channel.

Disclosure: Compassion & Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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