Judge tosses California law allowing life-ending drugs

Right to Die: Judge overturns assisted suicide law

A California judge on Tuesday overturned the state's physician-assisted suicide statute, ruling that lawmakers did not have the authority to pass it during a special session convened to take up healthcare legislation.

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".

Compassion and Choices, the country's largest aid-in-dying organization, criticized Ottolia's decision.

Packer said that her insurance company would not fund potentially life-saving chemotherapy treatments for her lung cancer, but instead offered her "aid-in-dying" drugs that would cost her $1.20.

The law allows adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor determines they have six months or less to live, but plaintiffs say it lacks safeguards to protect against abuse.

A California judge on Tuesday overturned the state's assisted suicide law, ruling that it was passed unconstitutionally. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

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California is one of eight jurisdictions with legal protections for assisted suicide.

"If this isn't Californians' health care, I don't know what is", said Eggman, a former social worker at hospices, who disputes Ottolia's conclusion that her bill should not have been considered during the special session. For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable ‘treatment that is offered them.”.

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.

"I think this is a short-term victory for people who object on religious principles to the availability of this option", Harry Nelson, an attorney who represents several doctors who have written prescriptions under the law, told the Los Angeles Times.

Judge Ottolia denied the group's request for an immediate injunction, but allowed the challenge to move forward in court.

David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, praised the opinion, saying in a written statement, "Assisted suicide is not healthcare, it has no role in the healing arts of medicine, and it is unsafe for patients, medicine and society".

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"It represents a tremendous blow to the assisted suicide legalization movement and puts state legislatures on notice regarding the political trickery of groups like Compassion and Choices", he said. 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 objective for the session.

Matt Valliere, executive director of the New York-based Patients Rights Action Fund, applauded the ruling.

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.

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.

"There is far too much still not known about how this law is put into practice - especially as it pertains to disabled, elderly and other populations", the conference said January 24.

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