On June 9, 2016, the state of California passed the End of Life Option (EOL) Act, which allows a terminally ill individual who has a life expectancy of six months or less to end their lives with dignity by taking end-of-life drugs. In his article “Issues with California’s End of Life Option Act,” published in the American Bar Association’s GPSOLO eReport, Michael Fedalen discusses how the problem of undue influence could affect those who choose to take advantage of the EOL Act.
“The very rules put in place to protect people from being coerced into taking end-of-life drugs may backfire,” said Mr. Fedalen. “It is possible for people who don’t want to wait for their inheritances to knowingly inflict undue influence on someone to coerce them into requesting suicide drugs.”
Since it would be difficult to prosecute an individual for undue influence, Mr. Fedalen offers some solutions. Protections for the terminally ill can be improved by modifying certain provisions of California law in order to prevent people from taking advantage of the End of Life of Option Act. He also suggests classifying undue influence as a form of elder abuse.