California has been ground zero for high profile legal battles over the issue.
It was a ruling that sent one woman to tears — a judge in California has just struck down a request by physicians to immediately suspend a new state law that allows people who are terminally ill to voluntarily end their own lives rather than live out their final few months in pain and torment.
The ruling came from Judge Daniel A. Ottolia of Riverside County Superior Court, who said the law could remain in effect, although physicians opposed to the law would be permitted to pursue a lawsuit. Opponents of the law claim that it lacks safeguards against abuse, according to a New York Times report.
The law took effect June 9 and permits terminally ill adults to get a prescription for a medication that would end their lives, if and only if a doctor determines they have less than half a year to live, according to the report.
The Times reported that a woman at the hearing who had Stage 4 colon cancer cried with relief when the judge denied the motion.
Just five states, including California, permit terminally ill people to receive assistance to end their lives. Oregon was the first to do so back in 1997.
“This bill, until January 1, 2026, would enact the End of Life Option Act authorizing an adult who meets certain qualifications, and who has been determined by his or her attending physician to be suffering from a terminal disease, as defined, to make a request for a drug prescribed pursuant to these provisions for the purpose of ending his or her life,” the bill states. “The bill would establish the procedures for making these requests. The bill would also establish specified forms to request an aid-in-dying drug, under specified circumstances, an interpreter declaration to be signed subject to penalty of perjury, thereby creating a crime and imposing a state-mandated local program, and a final attestation for an aid-in-dying drug. This bill would require specified information to be documented in the individual’s medical record, including, among other things, all oral and written requests for an aid-in-dying drug.”
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