Judge invalidates state aid-in-dying law; appeal window is narrow

  • Judge invalidates state aid-in-dying law; appeal window is narrow

Judge invalidates state aid-in-dying law; appeal window is narrow

California's Democratic attorney general Xavier Becerra disputed the ruling. The state attorney was given five days to file an emergency appeal before the ruling will take effect.

How was the law passed?

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.

Brittany Maynard garnered national attention when she and her husband packed their belongings into a U-Haul and drove 600 miles north from California to OR so she could take advantage of the state's right-to-die law and die peacefully.

Her story incited more awareness for the Death With Dignity movement, which began in OR when a group of physicians helped pass the first statewide law that allowed for terminally ill patients to request drugs to end their lives. It allowed doctors to prescribe lethal prescriptions to people with less than six months to live because of a terminal illness.

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.

Attorneys with Life Legal Defense Foundation told LifeNews that the assisted suicide law 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 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. But doctors and employees can not be disciplined for simply telling patients about their options under the law or referring them to participating providers.

"He's not acknowledging it's a health care issue, even though we believe it is", spokesman Sean Wherley said.

But the law received criticism from oncologists, who say dying patients often outlive their terminal diagnoses. The resolution called on churches and Christians "to care for the elderly among us, to show them honor and dignity, and to prayerfully support and counsel those who are providing end-of-life care for the aged, the terminally ill, and the chronically infirmed".

Deborah Ziegler, Maynard's mother, says she was disheartened by Tuesday's decision. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Becerra vowed to appeal. "It makes me sad that there are groups that want to politicize what is really a healthcare and human rights issue".

Doctor-assisted suicide is now legal in five states and the District of Columbia.

"It's not about winning or losing", Nguyen said. "We should stand together for a culture of life and look for better palliative care alternatives that bring comfort, not death".

A devout Catholic, Nguyen said the belief in the sanctity of life transcends religion. "I made a promise to my wife Brittany that I would continue her fight to authorize medical aid in dying in California". We should improve care at the end of life, not just choose to help people die.