June 19, 2018
Appeals court reinstates California’s deadly assisted suicide law
Last month, a judge overturned California’s law legalizing assisted suicide, which had been implemented in 2015. Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the California legislature violated the state constitution by passing the law during a special session that was supposed to be dedicated to Medicare funding. A group of doctors had sued to stop the law, which was rushed through the special session after it failed to pass a regular legislative session. “That special session was called to address funding shortages caused by Medi-Cal,” Stephen G. Larson, lead counsel for the doctors who filed suit, said. “It was not called to address the issue of assisted suicide.”
Ottolia originally ruled that assisted suicide did not fall within the topic of health care funding, and gave Attorney General Xavier Becerra five days to file an emergency appeal to keep the bill alive. Becerra did file an appeal, and this weekend, a state appeals court reinstated the law. The Fourth District Court of Appeals in Riverside issued an immediate stay, meaning the law goes back into effect right away. Becerra praised the court’s decision, saying, “This ruling provides some relief to California patients, their families, and doctors who have been living in uncertainty while facing difficult health decisions. Today’s court ruling is an important step to protect and defend the End of Life Option Act for our families across the state.”
Opponents of the law will have until July 2nd to file objections to the appeals court’s decision.
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