In 2015, California officially legalized assisted suicide. Despite intense opposition from both religious and disability rights groups, as well as doctors, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, claiming he considered what he would want, saying, “In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death.” But now, almost two years after it took effect, a Riverside judge has overturned the law.
Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled that the California legislature violated the state constitution by passing the law during a special session that was supposed to be dedicated to Medicare funding. Therefore, he argued, the law should not have been approved. A group of doctors later sued to stop the law and are applauding Ottolia’s decision.
“We’re very satisfied with the court’s decision today,” Stephen G. Larson, lead counsel for the doctors, said. “The act itself was rushed through the special session of the Legislature and it does not have any of the safeguards one would expect to see in a law like this.”
The bill originally failed in a regular legislative session, but California lawmakers resurrected it during the special session.
“That special session was called to address funding shortages caused by Medi-Cal,” Larson said. “It was not called to address the issue of assisted suicide.”
However, the assisted suicide advocates who pushed for the bill’s passage insist that it was relevant.
“He’s not acknowledging it’s a health care issue, even though we believe it is,” Sean Wherley, a spokesman for assisted suicide advocacy group Compassion & Choices, said. “It deals with medication.”
But Ottolia ruled that assisted suicide does not fall within the issue of health care funding, and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will now have five days to file an emergency appeal to keep the law alive.
Since the bill’s passage, over 100 people have taken their lives through assisted suicide. More disturbingly, there have been reports of insurance companies in California denying to cover treatment, while suggesting assisted suicide instead, even though the patient had not requested it. California resident Stephanie Packer saw firsthand the negative effects of the bill’s passage, as she fought cancer.
“As soon as this law was passed, patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option,” she said.
Compassion & Choices may try to fool people into believing that assisted suicide is an issue of health care, but the reality is clear: assisted suicide is nothing more than the creeping culture of death.