California has only weeks to decide if it will uphold or reject a law allowing physician-assisted suicide after a judge ruled Friday that residents can again kill themselves with a doctor’s help.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that California’s “End Of Life Option Act” would again take effect following revoke of the June 9, 2016 law. Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia rejected the law on May 15, ruling that it was unconstitutional because lawmakers massed the measure in a special legislative session that had been called to address other issues. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, however, maintains that the law holds legitimacy because the special session addressed health issues.
Those who don’t agree with the policy’s reinstatement can file objections until July 2, after which the court will determine whether to preserve or nix the law, according to NBC News.
The law allows terminally ill patients — that is patients with six months to live or less — to end their lives with the help of a medical professional who will prescribe a lethal dosage of drugs.
“Instead of assisted suicide we ought to focus on delivering real healthcare and treatment choices for patients facing serious disease,” said Patients Rights Action Fund CEO Matt Valière, lamenting the judge’s Friday ruling. He urged opponents of the law to speak out now before the health and lives of Californians falls further into jeopardy.
“This stay is a huge win for many terminally ill Californians with six months or less to live because it could take years for the courts to resolve this case,” Compassion & Choices national director Kevin Díaz said, NBC reported. The group is the “nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving care and expanding options for the end of life,” according to its website.
“This ruling provides some relief to California patients, their families, and doctors who have been living in uncertainty while facing difficult health decisions,” Becerra, a Democrat, also said, applauding the move.
California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Hawaii and Washington permit physician-assisted suicide. (RELATED: Massachusetts Might Legalize Assisted Suicide, And It Could Turn America Into The Netherlands)
Assisted suicide in the Netherlands is legal for anyone who suffers from physical or mental illness and has an advanced directive or has received parental consent if younger than 16. Minors can request euthanasia as young as 12.
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