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California’s Assisted Death Law Struck Down

Advocates and detractors of physician-assisted suicide have been paying close attention to the state of California. A law passed there in 2015 to allow the practice, was thought to be a good opportunity to see how it would work in a large state population, especially since the law contained important provisions concerning record keeping and reporting.

Regular reports on how the law was being used, were also supposed to be issued by the state. While the law is very popular with citizens according to polling data, many doctors were not as impressed and a group of them sued in 2016 to stop the law.

Recently, a judge in California ruled in favor of the doctors and struck down the law as the Sacramento Bee reports in “California assisted death law overturned in court.”

The doctors argued that the law did not adequately define terminal illness, for it to be clear which patients were eligible for physician assistance. The law also exempted people who helped patients with death from liability. The doctors complained that the law was not passed by the legislature following the appropriate procedure. The judge agreed with these claims.

The law’s supporters point out that the ruling was not about the legality of physician-assisted death itself and California has subsequently filed an appeal of the court’s ruling.

Reference: Sacramento Bee (May 15, 2018) “California assisted death law overturned in court.”

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