Judge pulls plug on California's assisted-suicide law
17 May, 2018, 23:17
Judge Daniel A. Ottolia of the Riverside County Superior Court ruled Tuesday that the End of Life Option Act, which Gov. "We strongly disagree with this ruling and the State is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal", the attorney general's office said in a statement.
Ottolia's ruling kept the law in place and gave the state attorney general five days to file an emergency appeal of the ruling before a higher court, where a longer stay could be granted. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law in 2015, was passed improperly and was therefore invalid.
Since Maynard'd death on November 1, 2014 at age 29, her husband Dan Diaz has helped push for the passage of a right-to-die law in their home state of California - as well as similar legislation in Hawaii, Colorado and Washington, D.C.
The California law, which went into effect in 2016, allows terminally ill patients who have been given a prognosis of six months or less to live to obtain a prescription for a lethal dose of medication.
State health officials reported that between June 2016 and the end of that year, 173 Californians were prescribed life-ending drugs by their doctors and 111 of them took the drugs.
The Life Legal Defense Foundation, American Academy of Medical Ethics and several physicians condemned the strategy and turned to the courts, saying the law devalues life and puts vulnerable people at risk.
She went on to say, "If any law can be passed by circumventing the normal legislative process, by short-cutting the normal rigorous legislative vetting that goes on, that is problematic".
Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, was present at the hearing.
Compassion & Choices, a national organization that advocated for the law, estimated that in its first year, 504 Californians requested prescriptions for medical aid in dying. 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. They also claim the law promotes the wrong message for terminally ill patients who, despite the law's strict requirements, may be enticed to request the life-ending drugs rather than continue treatment.
Davis would have been devastated by Ottolia's decision, said her sister, Kelly Davis.
"I view this law as Brittany's legacy", she said. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.
But Ziegler added that she is confident the ruling will be appealed and that the law will be allowed to stand. Life Legal attorneys appeared in court this morning to argue that the End of Life Option Act, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, is not related or even incidental to the stated goal of the special session.
"It's not about winning or losing", Nguyen said.
A devout Catholic, Nguyen said the belief in the sanctity of life transcends religion. But I am dying and I refuse to lose my dignity. We should improve care at the end of life, not just choose to help people die.
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