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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
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 Assembly Bill 374 (2007)

California Compassionate Choices Act

Check on the status of this bill at the California State Assembly

This bill would establish a process for issuing prescriptions for lethal medication to competent California residents who are at least18 years of age and who are suffering from terminal illness likely to result in death within six months. At least two physicians must be involved, as well as a psychiatrist or psychologist in some cases. The protection of conscience provisions
  • protect health care workers who participate in the process from criminal and civil liability and professional disciplinary action;
  • do not protect objectors who refuse to participate in the process from civil or criminal liability;
  • permit health care workers and institutions to refuse to participate in the process, though they are required to transfer the care of the patient upon request;
  • are silent on the subject of referral;
  • allow acute care hospitals to prohibit staff from carrying out a patient's request on their premises;
  • does not allow other institutions (nursing homes, hospices, etc.) from prohibiting staff from carrying out a patient's request on their premises.

INTRODUCED BY: (Principal coauthor: Assembly Member Feuer) (Coauthors: Assembly Members Bass, Beall, Brownley, De Leon, DeSaulnier, Dymally, Eng, Evans, Huffman, Jones, Karnette, Laird, Leno, Ma, Saldana, and Wolk) (Coauthors: Senators Calderon, Kuehl, Lowenthal, Oropeza, Romero, Steinberg, and Wiggins)

15 February, 2007



Chapter 3.95 (commencing with Section 7195) is added to Part 1 of Division 7 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:


  • See bill text on line. The protection of conscience section follows]

Article 3. Immunities and Liabilities

7198. Except as provided in Section 7198.5:

(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for participating in good faith compliance with this chapter. This includes being present when a qualified patient takes the prescribed medication to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.

(b) No professional organization or association, or heath care provider, may subject a person to censure, discipline, suspension, loss of license, loss of privileges, loss of membership, or other penalty for participating or refusing to participate in good faith compliance with this chapter.

(c) No request by a patient for or provision by an attending physician of medication in good faith compliance with this chapter shall constitute neglect for any purpose of law or provide the sole basis for the appointment of a guardian or conservator.

(d) No health care provider shall be under any duty, whether by contract, by statute, or by any other legal requirement to participate in the provision to a qualified patient of medication. If a health care provider is unable or unwilling to carry out a patient's request under this chapter, and the patient transfers his or her care to a new health care provider, the prior health care provider shall transfer, upon request, a copy of the patient's relevant medical records to the new health care provider.

(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a general acute care hospital, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1250, may prohibit a licensed physician from carrying out a patient's request under this chapter on the premises of the hospital if the hospital has notified the licensed physician of its policy regarding this chapter.


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