California Judge Grants Motion to Overturn State's Right-to-Die Law

Right to Die: Judge overturns assisted suicide law

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.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia has overturned the state's assisted suicide law, ruling that the "End of Life Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services".

"We are thrilled by today's ruling, which reinstates critical legal protections for vulnerable patients", said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder.

In March, the plaintiffs filed for summary judgment. OR was the first to provide the option in 1997.

Under the End of Life Option Act, a patient must be at least 18 years old and reside in California, suffering from an incurable and irreversible illness with a prognosis of six months or less to live, to qualify to proceed with physician-assisted suicide.

"Our supporters, they've frankly expressed shock at this outcome".

The sponsors of the state's End of Life Option Act had introduced the bill in a special session of the legislature convened by Gov.

Advocates argued if the law is suspended, people who qualified for the prescriptions will lose the option and be forced to suffer prolonged, painful deaths.

Becerra claimed legislation passed during special sessions is presumed to be constitutional.

The Democratic lawmakers who carried the original bill, Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman of Stockton and Sen.

California's physician-assisted suicide law, on the books after lawmakers passed it and Gov. Bill Monning of Carmel, could not immediately say if they would try to pass the bill again.

"It was a violation of the Constitution to basically slip in this suicide bill", she said, saying it set a risky precedent that undermines the legislative process. "The court made it very clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with increasing access to health care and that hijacking the special session to advance an unrelated agenda is impermissible". Under the law, the terminally ill person must be able to self-administer the drugs. 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.

Associated Press writer Julie Watson contributed to this story from San Diego.

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