Judge rejects physicians’ request to suspend California assisted suicide law

A California assisted suicide law will stand after a judge denied a request by physicians to immediately suspend the new legislation, according to an Associated Press report published by The New York Times.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia made the ruling Friday. He said the law will remain in effect for now, though he agreed to allow physicians to pursue their lawsuit claiming the law lacks safeguards to protect against abuse, the Associated Press reports.

California became the fifth state to allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients in October. Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont also permit physician-assisted suicide.

The California law, which took effect June 9, allows physicians to prescribe medication to end a patient's life if two physicians agree the patient has only six months left to live and is mentally competent. It is based on a similar law in Oregon, according to the article.

Proponents of the law argue those who are terminally ill could face prolonged, painful deaths if the legislation is suspended; however, opponents claim accelerating death is morally wrong, and that loved ones could coerce patients to end their lives, among other things, the article states.

The Associated Press reports that both sides are scheduled back in court Dec. 5.


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