California attorney general moves to dismiss federal lawsuit against state

California attorney general moves to dismiss federal lawsuit against state

Jerry Brown called the special session to deal with a funding shortage for public health programs and the assisted death law did not meet that criteria.

He issued an oral ruling Tuesday saying lawmakers acted illegally in passing the law during a special session devoted to other topics.

But motions filed by Life Legal argued that the legislation should not have been passed as part of the special session, as physician-assisted suicide "has nothing to do with the provision of healthcare 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 goal of the special session. California's law allows patients with less than six months to live to request end-of-life drugs from their doctors, a practice that has been allowed in OR for more than 20 years. Suicide is not health care, they argued.

OR was the first to legalize physician-assisted suicide with a statute that took effect in 1998. He also ruled that Life Legal's plaintiff physicians have cause to oppose the End of Life Act, as terminally ill patients don't always have the means to argue against the Act in court.

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At the hearing was Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. 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.

Opponents have expressed moral objections to assisted death and raised concerns about whether the law has enough protections in place for elderly, poor and disabled Californians who are vulnerable to being taken advantage of in the health care system. Since then, some 200 end-of-life prescriptions have been written per year, according to Compassion and Choices, although not all have been used. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. "For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable "treatment" that is offered them".

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that his office "strongly disagreed" with the judge's finding and would seek an expedited appeal.

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