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Judge Overturns California Aid-in-Dying Law
17 May 2018, 11:17 | Erica Roy
Judge pulls plug on California's assisted-suicide law
In his earlier ruling, Ottolia said: "Even though improving the health of Californians might seem far removed from assisted suicide, it is sufficiently related to health care and the efficiency and efficacy of the health care system for the court to consider the act to be within the scope of the authorization for the (special) session".
In July, the California Department of Public Health released a report showing that in the second half of 2016 the law was used by 191 terminally-ill Californians, who obtained lethal drug prescriptions from 173 doctors.
Life Legal attorneys said they appeared in court to argue the law, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, is not related or even incidental to the stated objective of the special session and that suicide is not health care.
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.
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"We strongly disagree with this ruling and the State is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal", Becerra said in a statement Tuesday.
"We've had no complaints, no problems", Monning says.
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. California was the fifth state to take such a step. Two doctors have to sign off on the patient's prognosis, and the patient must make the request for lethal medication once in writing and twice verbally, with at least 15 days between the requests.
In January 2018, the California Catholic Conference reiterated its opposition to assisted suicide and criticized the lack of data collected and the lack of transparency of the law's implementation.
But many people and organizations continue to oppose the law on philosophical grounds, and legal challenges have come from, among others, the group of physicians who are plaintiffs in the Riverside case. A judge in Riverside County on Tuesday overturned the law because of concerns about how it was passed by the Legislature. "But that doesn't happen when someone requests aid in dying", Snyder said.
Critics convinced Ottolia that while the state constitution permits the governor to issue proclamations to convene extraordinary legislative sessions, the Legislature is prohibited from enacting bills that are not the specific subject of the proclamation.
George Eighmey, national board president of the nonprofit Death With Dignity argued that as the court battle unfolds, people who want to die will be forced to place their death on hold. It's likely Attorney General Xavier Becerra will appeal Ottolia's decision.
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