Big legal fight over assisted suicide in Calif.
A legal challenge against California’s assisted suicide law will continue on – all while the state’s residents can kill themselves if they meet a certain criteria.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) signed the bill passed in the last legislative session that is opening the door for lawsuits. The only case making progress so far was filed by Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF).
LLDF Executive Director Alexandra Snyder says many doctors across the country are unwilling to accept the law without a legal fight.
“The lawsuit entails six physicians – primarily oncologists – challenging California’s assisted suicide law,” Snyder informed. “And then we are also representing the American Academy of Medical Ethics, which is a group of several thousand physicians nationwide.”
The judge ruled that they do have standing to bring the lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their patients. Otherwise the case could have been dismissed:
“The other thing that the judge said was that the case was ripe, which means that somebody could actually get injured,” Snyder pointed out. “In order to bring a lawsuit you have to have an actual injury, so that was another victory.”
However the court did not issue a preliminary injunction to block the law – so Californians can legally kill themselves and there is no way to effectively track them. This is because doctors do not have to list assisted suicide as the cause of death. Disturbing to many pro-life advocates, only the illness from which they are suffering is listed.
The next step in the legal process is a conference between attorneys and the court in December, and the trial is scheduled to take place sometime after the first of the year.
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