In California, Judge Daniel A. Ottolia who serves at the Riverside County superior Court, ruled the state’s End Of Life Option Act was improperly passed making it invalid. The act, often referred to as the state’s right to die law, was signed into law back in 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown (D). In a court ruling, after listening to the plaintiff argue that the act violated the California Constitution due to the law being passed during a special session that was called only to handle matters involving health care funding, Judge Ottolia ruled the act was invalid and overturned it.
Legally, Attorney General for the state of California Xavier Becerra (D) has just five days to step forth and challenge Judge Ottolia’s decision, if he fails to do so, the ruling will go into effect. Becerra stated that he and his office strongly disagree with Judge Ottolia’s ruling and they are looking to have this matter reviewed at the Court of Appeals. Many believe that the Court of Appeals would likely overturn the ruling in place by Judge Ottolia.
An attorney for an advocacy group for dying with dignity, Compassion & Choices, stated that he and his group respectfully believe that the matter was misinterpreted via the application of the state constitution and that any medical aid used in death should and is often recognized as a form of health care options. Therefore it would have fallen under the category of health care and any funding associated with it. He also noted that many Californian’s support the right to die law.
On the other side, those who disagreed with the original act were thrilled with Judge Ottolia’s ruling. A spokesperson for an advocacy group who originally challenge the law when it was enacted, The Life Legal Defense Foundation, noted that Judge Ottolia’s ruling will now revive the critical legal protections that are necessary to help protect patients who are vulnerable. They believe that it has been made abundantly clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with making healthcare more accessible and essentially, the special session was hijacked in order for them to further an agenda that was completely unrelated.
For now, it is a waiting game to see what higher courts decide. While it is clear that both sides have strong feelings, in this case, it will come down to how legally the original act was passed. For more information, head to Huffington Post.