California's passage of the law has encouraged other states, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, and NY, to consider aid in dying legislation.
While he did not base his decision on the merits of the law, Judge Daniel Ottolia of the Riverside County Superior Court agreed with the plaintiffs, represented by the Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF), that the legislation was not pertinent to the goal of the special session. In 2015 California lawmakers fast-tracked the bill, known as the End of Life Option Act, and passed it during a special legislative session called to close a $1 billion funding gap in the MediCal program. Two years earlier Maynard, 29, who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, publicized videos of her final weeks after she moved to OR to avail herself of the state's Death With Dignity Act.
In January 2018, the California Catholic Conference reiterated its opposition to assisted suicide and criticized the lack of data collected and the lack of transparency of the law's implementation. Primarily, patients "want to discuss what matters most at the end of their lives and understand what their options are and what will align best with their wishes", she said.
"By changing the rules, the Trump administration is threatening basic access to essential health care for women and families throughout the country", Becerra said.
Though the ruling might only be temporary, one terminally ill woman at the May 15 hearing was grateful for it.
"We are thrilled by today's ruling, which reinstates critical legal protections for vulnerable patients", Life Legal Executive Director Alexandra Snyder said in a written release. Suicide is not health care, they argued.
Sean Crowley, a spokesman for Compassion & Choices, said Judge Ottolia's ruling was "a shock" and that his group thinks the judge misinterpreted the state constitution in holding that the aid-in-dying bill fell outside the parameters of the special legislative session.
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She has testified several times against assisted suicide. Last June, Compassion & Choices, a group that supports end-of-life options, estimated that 504 Californians had received a lethal prescription since the law took effect in June 2016.
"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", Stephen G. Larson, head counsel for a group of doctors who filed a legal challenge to the law, told the Sacramento Bee.
The law allows terminally ill patients with less than six months to live and who have been diagnosed with a known condition to seek a prescription for life-ending drugs and administer it themselves.
"We strongly disagree with this ruling and the state is seeking expedited review in the Court of Appeal", Becerra said Wednesday.
Worse, for patients, "the so-called right to die very quickly becomes the duty to die", Stevens said. He pointed to Nevada's handling of assisted suicide bills, including one that cleared the state senate in 2017 before being defeated in a Democrat-controlled assembly committee.
The courts have given the state five days to file an emergency appeal. "I made a promise to my wife Brittany that I would continue her fight to authorize medical aid in dying in California".