From The State
A California judge on Tuesday threw out a 2016 state law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives, ruling it was unconstitutionally approved by the Legislature.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia said lawmakers acted illegally in passing the law during a special session devoted to other topics, said lawyers for supporters and opponents. He did not address the legal issue of whether it was proper to allow people to take their own lives, and gave the state attorney general five days to appeal.
Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office did not respond to calls and emails seeking comment.
The Life Legal Defense Foundation, American Academy of Medical Ethics and several physicians challenged the law, which allows adults to obtain a prescription for life-ending drugs if a doctor has determined they have six months or less to live. The plaintiffs say the law lacks safeguards to protect against abuse.
Alexandra Snyder, an attorney and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, said the judge ruled that lawmakers effectively “hijacked” a special legislative session that was called to address access to medical care and used it to pass their bill.
“Access to health care has no relationship to assisted suicide,” she said, saying it set a dangerous precedent that undermines the legislative process.
Opponents have argued that hastening death is morally wrong, puts terminally ill patients at risk for coerced death by loved ones and could become a way out for people who are uninsured or fearful of high medical bills.