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17 May 2018, 11:21 | Devin Moran
Judge Overturns California's Right-To-Die Law
In what is certainly a victory for the pro-life movement, a judge in California on Tuesday struck down the state's legalization of doctor-assisted suicide.
A spokesman for Compassion & Choices, which describes itself as the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and expanding end-of-life options, said the decision was a blow to California's terminally ill.
Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia agreed, ruling on May 15 that "the End of Life Option Act, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services", and that it "is not a matter of health care funding". Two years earlier Maynard, 29, who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, publicized videos of her final weeks after she moved to OR to avail herself of the state's Death With Dignity Act. Primarily, patients "want to discuss what matters most at the end of their lives and understand what their options are and what will align best with their wishes", she said.
"State-sanctioned suicide sends the message that some lives are not worth living", LLDF said in a statement.
Some Americans with terminal illnesses have reported Medicaid and/or their insurance companies have informed them they will pay for a lethal prescription but not drugs to treat their afflictions.
"Proponents of physician-assisted suicide have been boasting that there is no opposition in the states that have legalized it", Callister said in an email.
Reversing the assisted-suicide law "would have devastating consequences for terminally ill Californians, who will be forced to suffer through needlessly prolonged deaths, and their families", said Kevin Díaz, Compassion and Choices' national director of legal advocacy.
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.
Critics of assisted suicide charge the practice is not only potentially abusive, but it already is being used in place of health care. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who says he strongly disagrees with the ruling, says he plans to do so. But Assemblywoman Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, the author of the state law, said she has learned that Becerra's office, with Brown's support, would ask the Fourth District Court of Appeal for a stay of the ruling and a prompt review of the law's validity.
Her sister and other advocates fear others won't have the same choice after a Riverside County judge threw out the law Tuesday because he said it was unconstitutionally approved by the Legislature.
Worse, for patients, "the so-called right to die very quickly becomes the duty to die", Stevens 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. The law has been controversial, and two groups and several physicians opposed to physician-assisted suicide filed suit to block the law in June 2016. And with the likely appeal from the state attorney general, his fight for California's medicine aid in dying legislation is not over. "Brittany was simply saying, 'I will not die that way, and I shouldn't be forced to, '" he said.
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