California Right-to-Die Law Reinstated

(CN) – A California appellate court temporarily reinstated the state’s End of Life Option Act on Friday, which allows terminally ill patients to receive physician-assisted suicides.

The law was deemed unconstitutional last month by a state court judge who said lawmakers acted outside the scope of their authority by passing it during a special session convened by Gov. Jerry Brown to discuss health care issues.

In 2017, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia advanced a lawsuit filed by Life Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of a group of California-based doctors and the American Academy of Medical Ethics doing business as Christian Medical and Dental Society, who sought an injunction against the law because they claimed it violated the state’s constitution.

The Riverside District Attorney and California Attorney General were named in the suit, which was filed the day before the law went into effect in 2016.

Last month, Ottolia agreed the law did not fall within the scope of access to health care services, and ruled suicide should not be considered a medical service. He stayed his ruling, issued from the bench, to give the state time to appeal.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office appealed the state court’s ruling and on Friday California’s Fourth Appellate Court granted a temporary stay.

Now the parties are ordered to show cause to the court on why the relief for the first amended petition should not be granted, according to the stay written by Presiding Justice Manuel A. Ramirez.

In a statement Becerra said, “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.”

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