California To Appeal Ruling On Life-Ending Drugs

Right to Die: Judge overturns assisted suicide law

Though the ruling might only be temporary, one terminally ill woman at the May 15 hearing was grateful for it.

Compassion & Choices, the organization that led the effort to legalize assisted death in California, also objected to the judge's interpretation.

"It's a reminder for all of us that there are those out there who would like to take our rights away", she said. "We have heard of cases where insurance companies will pay for lethal drugs, but not for life-prolonging treatment".

A state judge is tossing out an assisted suicide law nearly two years after it was passed.

Judge tosses Calif. law, allowing terminally ill to take life-ending drugsThe state has five days to appeal.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement, "We strongly disagree with this ruling and the State is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal".

Alexandra Snyder, an attorney and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, emphasized that lawmakers "hijacked" a special session in order to introduce legislation in favor of assisted suicide.

A special-session measure "does not receive the same degree of scrutiny and debate", Stephen Larson, a lawyer for opponents of the law, said Tuesday. Suicide is not health care.

The Act enabled terminally ill patients to utilize medical aid in dying as a palliative care option to end suffering and peacefully end their lives.

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The initial legislative effort to pass an assisted suicide bill failed in committee during the 2015 regular season, following months of media attention to the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with an aggressive brain tumor who moved from California to OR in order to take advantage of legal physician-assisted suicide there.

Larson, the lawyer for the Life Legal Defense Foundation, applauded "the courage demonstrated by the judge in finding the law unconstitutional".

"The hope is that you don't need to utilize the medication", Diaz said.

Judge Ottolia denied the group's request for an immediate injunction, but allowed the challenge to move forward in court.

Harry Nelson, a healthcare attorney in Los Angeles who represents several doctors who have prescribed lethal prescriptions, told the Los Angeles Times he thinks it is unlikely the law will be permanently overturned.

"The assisted-suicide regime is one tragic example of public policy working to do the very thing that it should not - encourage death", he told Baptist Press in written comments. "Ultimately, we are confident an appeals court will rule the legislature duly passed the End of Life Option Act and reinstate this perfectly valid law, which the strong majority of Californians support", he said.

The death law was passed by the California State Legislature in 2016, and 111 Californians ended their lives in the first six months after it went into effect.

Almost two years after it took effect, California's controversial assisted death law is back in limbo. But in comments during last year's hearing quoted by opponents, Ottolia said the right-to-die law did not appear to be "related to improving the health of Californians", Brown's stated overall objective for the session.

So far, he said, there has been "not a single report of malfeasance or problems".

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