Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Judge Rules California’s Assisted Suicide Law Unconstitutional

This media release was sent out by Life Legal Defense on May 15, 2018 

NAPA, Calif., May 15, 2018 — A California judge overturned the state’s assisted suicide law this morning, ruling that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act.

The Act’s sponsors introduced the bill in a special session of the legislature convened by Governor Jerry Brown to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled, and in-home health support services.

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 purpose of the special session. Suicide is not health care.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia agreed, holding that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”

Life Legal filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings in March 2018, arguing that the law should be overturned because the manner in which it was passed is unconstitutional. We have argued from the outset that suicide has nothing to do with the provision of health services.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra opposed our motion, stating that legislation passed during special sessions is presumed to be constitutional. The Attorney General also argued that Life Legal’s plaintiff physicians do not have standing to challenge the End of Life Option Act.

Alexandra Snyder
Judge Ottolia ruled that doctors do have standing to bring challenges on behalf of their patients, especially in this case, as terminally ill patients would face significant difficulties filing their own lawsuits against the Act.

“We are thrilled by today’s ruling, which reinstates critical legal protections for vulnerable patients,” said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “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.”

Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, was present at the hearing. After the End of Life Option Act was implemented, Stephanie’s insurance company denied coverage of life-saving chemotherapy treatment, but said it would pay for “aid-in-dying” drugs, which would cost $1.20.

Stephanie has spoken out against assisted suicide in California and other states, saying, “I am so grateful that California’s assisted suicide law was overturned today. The bill’s proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Choice is really an illusion for a very few. For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable ‘treatment’ that is offered them.”

It is anticipated that Attorney General Becerra will appeal today’s ruling.


Morten Andreas Horn said...

Fantastic! Is this really true? Will it hold? Great news!

Jeffrey Golin said...

It's unbelievable! The trouble is that there are powerful interests here in California who will appeal this ruling, and it's only from a lower court, the Superior Court in Riverside County, so it has a long way to go up the food chain, from the Fourth Appellate District to ultimately the California Supreme Court, and maybe could work up to the US Supreme Court, if the hospitals and nursing homes and insurance companies put up a fight.

If it goes to the Supremes, remember we now have Justice Gorsuch up there, who the liberals think is so terrible and maybe in some ways they are right, but he wrote several law journal articles savagely critical of Washington v. Glucksberg, which took no stance on assisted suicide, and against euthanasia.

Anonymous said...

Time for AG Becerra to be voted out of office! He does not represent the interests of the people of California.

Jeffrey Golin said...

Gorsuch's book on Assisted Suicide was very academic, very good and worth studying:




aurora said...

Marvelous let life and death take its course naturally

Voice of Gone Ballistic said...

In Canada is medical aid in dying treatment. I read somewhere that it was. But maybe I have been wrong. Any comments.

lulu54 said...

yes Audrey in Canada it was named MAID (medical aide in dying) as opposed to what it was originally- physican assited suicide, which of course is really what is it.

Alex Schadenberg said...

In fact, it is euthanasia that was legalized in Canada. Lethal injection. Assisted suicide is when they prescribe lethal drugs.

Unknown said...

MAID would be better called
MAIM=Medical Aid in Murder...