VICTORY! Judge rules CA assisted suicide law UNCONSTITUTIONAL
VICTORY! Judge rules California
assisted suicide law UNCONSTITUTIONAL
A California judge overturned the state’s assisted suicide law this morning, ruling that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act.
Life Legal attorneys with Stephanie Packer and her children.
Stephanie’s insurance company said it would pay for “aid-in-dying” drugs,
but not the chemotherapy she needed.
The Act’s sponsors introduced the bill in a special session of the legislature convened by Governor Jerry Brown to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled, and in-home health support services.
Life Legal attorneys appeared in court this morning to argue that the End of Life Option Act, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, is not related or even incidental to the stated purpose of the special session. Suicide is not health care.
Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia agreed, holding that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”
Life Legal filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings in March 2018, arguing that the law should be overturned because the manner in which it was passed is unconstitutional. We have argued from the outset that suicide has nothing to do with the provision of health services.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra opposed our motion, stating that any legislation passed during special sessions is presumed to be constitutional. The Attorney General also argued that Life Legal’s plaintiff physicians do not have standing to challenge the End of Life Option Act.
Judge Ottolia ruled that doctors do have standing to bring challenges on behalf of their patients, especially in this case, as terminally ill patients would face significant difficulties filing their own lawsuits against the Act.
We are pleased with today’s ruling, which reinstates critical legal protections for vulnerable patients. The court made it very clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with increasing access to health care and that hijacking the special session to advance an unrelated agenda is impermissible.
Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, was present at the hearing. After the End of Life Option Act was implemented, Stephanie’s insurance company denied coverage of life-saving chemotherapy treatment, but said it would pay for “aid-in-dying” drugs, which would cost $1.20.
Stephanie has spoken out against assisted suicide in California and other states, saying, “I am so grateful that California’s assisted suicide law was overturned today. The bill’s proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Choice is really an illusion for a very few. For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable ‘treatment’ that is offered them.”
It is anticipated that Attorney General Becerra will appeal today’s ruling.
Assisted suicide laws exploit patients at their most vulnerable. Won’t you stand with us to protect people like Stephanie and others from the pressures they face under the End of Life Option Act.
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“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
THANK YOU for praying for one-year-old MH, who nearly drowned to death at the end of March. The hospital said she would be brain dead and wanted to withdraw care almost immediately, but MH has since opened her eyes and is showing signs of recovery. She is scheduled to be transferred out of the hospital to a specialty clinic next week.
PLEASE PRAY for a 17-year-old who suffered a brain injury after being hit by a car this week. He is on life support at a Washington state hospital and the hospital is threatening to remove his ventilator.
May 18: Hearing in Red Rose Rescue case in Washington DC.
June 6: Hearing in Two Rivers School v. Darnell et al. (D.C.)—Pro-life advocates protested the building of a Planned Parenthood megacenter adjacent to a middle school in Washington, D.C. The school district sued. Life Legal is representing the lead plaintiff in the case.
September 28: Trial begins in Ahn v. Hestrin, Life Legal’s challenge to California’s assisted suicide law. We are currently obtaining evidence about the implementation of the law.
Diss v. Portland Public Schools (Ore.)—First Amendment case where a public school teacher was fired for refusing to facilitate a Planned Parenthood sex ed program in his classroom. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on May 9.
Daleiden v. National Abortion Federation (NAF)—In 2017, David Daleiden published a series of videos exposing the abortion industry’s role in the sale of baby body parts for profit. NAF sued to obtain a gag order that would suppress all further video footage recorded by Daleiden at NAF conferences. A federal court judge granted the gag order and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Life Legal filed a petition for review of critical free speech with the U.S. Supreme Court. On March 29, the Court convened to consider whether to review the case. Please pray that the Court hears the case!
NIFLA v. Becerra (CA)—On March 20, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case involving a challenge to a California law that 1) forces medically-licensed pregnancy resource centers to tell their clients how to obtain a state-funded abortion, and 2) forces non-medical centers to post large signs saying that they are not medical centers. Life Legal filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of Priests for Life and the Justice Foundation addressing the draconian disclosure mandate for non-medical pregnancy centers.
McKitty v. Hayani: Life Legal is assisting in the Canadian case of 27-year-old Taquisha McKitty, who was declared brain dead in September, but has since been exhibiting movements and responses incompatible with brain failure. We are waiting for the judge’s ruling after a 5-day trial that centered on Taquisha’s religious belief that life is not determined solely on the basis of neurological criteria.
Masterpiece Cakes v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. Oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on December 5. Please pray for a decision that preserves religious freedom! Life Legal submitted an amicus brief on behalf of pro-life physicians.
Two Rivers School v. Darnell et al. (D.C.)—Pro-life advocates protested the building of a Planned Parenthood megacenter adjacent to a middle school in Washington, D.C. The school district sued. Life Legal is representing the lead plaintiff in the case. Case is stayed at the appellate level waiting on the appellate court to render a decision.
Passamore v. 21st Century Oncology (Fla.)—Discriminatory termination of two medical employees for taking part in prolife activities after work hours.
Planned Parenthood v. MMB Properties, Inc. (Fla.)—Waiting for ruling in case where a medical office complex refused to allow Planned Parenthood to perform abortions on its premises.
Planned Parenthood v. CMP/David Daleiden—Lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against David Daleiden seeking millions of dollars in damages. The case is currently before the Ninth Circuit.
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