Doctors File Suit Against Calif. For Threatening Punishment Over Refusal to Perform Assisted Suicides

Doctors File Suit Against Calif. For Threatening Punishment Over Refusal to Perform Assisted Suicides

A group of physicians in California are remembering their Hippocratic Oath to “do no harm” and are clapping back at the state of California for attempting to force them into making a life-or-death decision they don’t want to make.

“California doctors who object to assisted suicide are fighting an amended state law that implicates them in their patients’ intentional deaths,” Just the News reported over the weekend.

“They are suing California officials, including Attorney General Rob Bonta, Department of Public Health Director Tomas Aragon, and Medical Board members to block SB 380, which made it easier for patients to commit suicide under the End of Life Options Act that took effect in 2016,” the report continued.

The outlet adds:

The original law issued a broad exemption for healthcare providers, granting them a liability shield for “refusing to inform” patients about their right to physician-assisted suicide and “not referring” patients to physicians who will assist in their suicides.

The amended law removed it, leaving providers vulnerable to “civil, criminal, administrative, disciplinary, employment, credentialing, professional discipline, contractual liability, or medical staff action, sanction, or penalty or other liability.”

The conscientious objectors argue that they are suffering an irreversible injury to their free exercise of speech and religion. The lawsuit seeks a court injunction as well as a declaration that the law violates the Constitution in every manner. The suit also argues that the law forces California to impinge on their “right not to speak the State’s message on the subject of assisted suicide.”

“The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, which claims 90% of its 16,000 members would quit medicine rather than be subject to such laws, and its member Dr. Leslee Cochrane, executive director of the nonprofit Hospice of the Valleys, who said he’d either quit or leave California,” Just the News reports.

The measure was signed into law by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom last fall. And while the measure states that “participating” in an assisted suicide is a “voluntary” endeavor, the lawsuit argues that the law very narrowly defines the latter term, which summarily deprives physicians of sufficient legal protection over any refusal to take part in steps that approve of a purposeful killing.

First, the physicians must document in the patient’s medical record their desire to die, which takes care of the first of two required “oral requests” for patients to then get a prescription for a lethal medication. In addition, doctors have to send the record to a second physician if the patient requests it.

Participation an intentional killing excludes “[d]diagnosing whether a patient has a terminal disease, informing the patient of the medical prognosis, or determining whether a patient has the capacity to make decisions,” as well as letting a patient know about options to assisted suicide.

That language caused some concern to the Democrat-controlled legislative committees that reviewed the legislation, Just the News noted:

The Senate Health Committee’s analysis noted the California Medical Association only supported the 2016 legislation because of its “true conscious objection and opt out” provision. The California Hospital Association flatly said it would oppose SB 380 with the narrow definition of “participating.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s analysis said the bill raises “constitutional questions with respect to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion,” given that physicians face “exposure to liability” for not “affirmatively facilitating” a patient’s rights under the law.

The Assembly Judiciary Committee (AJC) analysis a few months later left out that concern, possibly because the bill had been amended by then. The lawsuit claims the revision did not change the exceptions to “participating” but organized them differently.

In sum, the lawsuit claimed that the amended law treats doctors who participate in assisted suicide better than those who refuse to do so, as the former cannot be subjected to “a complaint or report of unprofessional or dishonest conduct” just on the basis of deciding to help people kill themselves.

The left continues to destroy what is left of our culture.


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