Judge invalidates state aid-in-dying law; appeal window is narrow

If diagnosed with less than six months to live, a patient may request lethal drugs from their physician.

Even if the state loses in its appeal, California's legislature would likely pass an identical piece of legislation while avoiding the procedural issues cited in Ottolia's ruling.

"I pray the attorney general successfully appeals this decision, so hundreds of terminally ill Californians like me don't have to suffer needlessly at life's end", he said.

Ottolia's ruling kept the law in place and gave the state attorney general five days to file an emergency appeal of the ruling before a higher court, where a longer stay could be granted.

"We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal", Becerra said Wednesday.

"We are hopeful that the state accepts this decision and that the matter is referred back to the Legislature for further consideration", Larson said.

A county judge invalidated California's physician-assisted suicide law Tuesday (May 15) but did not rule the lethal practice unconstitutional.

"Under the Act, "terminal illness" includes any condition that, if left untreated, would cause death within six months".

A week after California's physician-assisted suicide law went into effect on June 9, 2016, however, Packer who is a mother of four got a letter from her health insurance company advising her that the doctor-recommended chemotherapy treatment for her lung and related cancer the company had previously promised was now being denied. The laws force doctors to harm their patients and can make patients feel pressured to commit suicide to cut costs for their families, critics counter. Life Legal Defense Foundation attorneys who represent the American Academy of Medical Ethics, (www.ethicalhealthcare.org) CMDA's state public policy arm, in the lawsuit appeared in court yesterday to argue that the Act is not related or even incidental to the stated goal of the special session.

Since Maynard'd death on November 1, 2014 at age 29, her husband Dan Diaz has helped push for the passage of a right-to-die law in their home state of California - as well as similar legislation in Hawaii, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

"Health care professionals were shocked at the cynicism and questioned why the state was embracing doctor-assisted suicide as the standard of care for people who needed respect and support", Dolejsi said in his statement. "The session dealt with Medicaid, and the End of Life Option Act allowed Medicaid to pay for aid-in-dying medication", he said. "But that doesn't happen when someone requests aid in dying", Snyder said.

In California, opponents including Catholic leaders and medical groups defeated a 1992 initiative to legalize aid-in-dying and stalled other bills in the state Legislature. The law is different than euthanasia, because the patient must be physically able to take the life-ending drugs on their own.

The California law was championed by Compassion & Choices, a pro-assisted suicide group.

There was no immediate comment from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's office, which has defended the law in court.

"I'm still passionate about this issue because I don't want to see people die badly".

Vanessa Coleman

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