Public largely supports physician-assisted death, regardless of ethnicity

The majority of California and Hawaii residents support physician-assisted suicide, regardless of their ethnicity, according to a study by researchers at the Stanford (Calif.) University School of Medicine.

Even among those who said religion or spirituality was very important to them, a majority of people still supported the practice.

"The response was surprisingly positive across all ethnic groups," said VJ Periyakoil, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine and lead author of the study. Those taking the survey marked their ethnicities as African American, Latino, white, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander or Asian. "I was surprised that people who were deeply spiritual were still positive overall," she said.

The study also found that older people were more likely than younger people to approve of physicians prescribing life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients who request them.

The End of Life Option Act officially came into law in California Thursday.


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