California judge overturns physician aid-in-dying law

California judge overturns physician aid-in-dying law

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

Why was the law rejected in court? In a separate motion, they argued that medical aid in dying was not related to the stated goal of the special legislative session that passed the act, explained Alexandra Snyder, executive director of the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

Lawmakers OK'd the controversial legislation during a special session convened by Democratic Gov. 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 goal for the session.

"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. Hawaii enacted an assisted suicide law in April. Opposition to the law has been led by some religious groups and advocates for the disabled.

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.

An advocacy group estimates that in its first year 504 Californians requested prescriptions for medical aid in dying. "Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law, it passed both houses, it went through hearings". Facing a painful death, she moved to OR, where the nation's first such law was passed two decades ago, and legally obtained a doctor's prescription for the drug she used to end her life. Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia is giving the state attorney general 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".

He believes that physician-assisted suicide is "dangerous for the health care profession".

Asked for a comment, Brown's office said Ottolia's current assessment of the right-to-die law's relationship to public health was different from his analysis in 2016, when he let the law remain in effect. Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys who represent the American Academy of Medical Ethics, (www.ethicalhealthcare.org) CMDA's state public policy arm, in the lawsuit appeared in court yesterday to argue that the Act is not related or even incidental to the stated goal of the special session.

Compassion & Choices also released a statement from Matt Fairchild, whom it described as a 48-year-old retired Army staff sergeant from Burbank who has been diagnosed with terminal melanoma that has spread to his bones, lungs and brain.

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.

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. "But that's not the option we hope for".

Larson said the special session was not called to debate assisted suicide but rather California's Medicaid welfare program serving low-income families and persons with disabilities, among others.

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