California's aid-in-dying law overturned in court

17 May, 2018, 06:24 | Author: Wade Massey
  • California's aid-in-dying law overturned in court

Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia ruled lawmakers illegally passed the law during a special session devoted to other topics.

Gov. Jerry Brown called the special session in 2015 to address Medicaid funding shortfalls. Life Legal Defense Foundation and the American Academy of Medical Ethics - both of which have affiliations with religious groups - led the way in challenging the law.

"The court made it very clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with increasing access to health care and that hijacking the special session to advance an unrelated agenda is impermissible", Ms. Snyder said in a statement. Gen. Xavier Becerra said: "We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal".

If the emergency appeal is denied, the law will be immediately struck down.

At least 111 terminally ill people, mostly suffering from cancer or neuromuscular disorders such as ALS and Parkinson's Disease, have used it to end their lives.

California is one of eight jurisdictions with legal protections for assisted suicide.

In January 2018, the California Catholic Conference reiterated its opposition to assisted suicide and criticized the lack of data collected and the lack of transparency of the law's implementation.

Last June, on the one-year anniversary of the law, Compassion & Choices estimated that at least 504 terminally ill adults have received prescriptions to end their lives based on inquiries to its consultation program.

The California law permits state residents who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses and supposedly have less than six months of life remaining to receive a prescription from a physician for a lethal dose of drugs.

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"To be honest, a little bit surprised", Snyder said of the judge's ruling.

"We have seen more patients than we initially expected participating in the End of Life Option Act", said Harman, who was not involved in the lawsuit but has written about Stanford Health Care's experiences with the law.

It also noted that the law provided "no safeguards for labeled individuals who may suffer from untreated mental illness or mood disorders and grants full immunity for doctors to participate in the killing of their most vulnerable patients".

"We need government to promote the value of life, to support compassionate end-of-life care measures, and to empower doctors to aggressively treat pain-not to legalize ways to end patients' lives or save money by cutting healthcare short near the end of life", Dr. Stevens said.

Meanwhile, there's the other side of the equation: physician participation. "Choice is really an illusion for a very few", Stephanie Packer said, according to the Los Angeles archdiocese's Angelus News. She said assisted suicide is often framed as health care, but "nothing could be further from the truth". Before that, two doctors must have determined that the patient would die within six months and was mentally competent to choose death.

OR was the first to legalize physician-assisted suicide with a statute that took effect in 1998.

California is one of seven states, including Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, along with the District of Columbia, that allow doctors to prescribe lethal prescriptions for terminally ill patients.

Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, who backed the bill, charged that the judge's decision interfered with Californians in the process of securing the lethal drugs under the law.

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