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Arguments Against California's Right-To-Die Law For The Terminally Ill Will Proceed

17 June 2017, 7:12 am EDT By Athena Chan Tech Times
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A California judge allowed legal arguments to proceed against California’s End of Life Option Act. The organization behind the lawsuit believes that the act sends the message that life is not worth living.   ( Pixabay )

A Riverside County judge allowed legal arguments against California's controversial right-to-die law that allows terminally ill patients to seek life-ending drugs. The challenges to the law come just a little over a year after it came into enactment.

End Of Life Option Act

On Friday, June 16, Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia approved a legal challenge to California's End of Life Option Act, stating that the group of doctors challenging the law have given sufficient evidence to push through with the lawsuit.

The group of doctors that are backed by the Life Legal Defense Foundation argue that the End of Life Option Act treats some vulnerable patients unfairly. For instance, they state that the act does not require terminally ill patients seeking medically assisted deaths to undergo a mental evaluation even when a majority of individuals who get a terminal diagnosis experience depression that could lead to suicidal tendencies.

What's more, they believe that the End of Life Option Act is a dangerous law and that state-sanctioned deaths send a message that life is not worth living.

To counter this, California's Attorney General Xavier Becerra argued that the suit should be dismissed because the act merely gives terminally ill patients an option and does not bind any doctor to issue the prescriptions.

Further, Deputy Attorney Kathleen Lynch argued that the law has many safe guards and that the allegations were made based on hypothetical situations, stressing that the law merely gives terminally ill people a right.

The End of Life Option Act took effect in June 2016. To make use of the law, an individual must have been six months or less to live and submit a written request as well as two verbal requests that must be done at least 15 days apart.

Other states with the End of Life Option Act or similar laws are Washington, Oregon, Montana, and Vermont. The trial setting conference is scheduled for Oct. 20.

Over 500 Life-Ending Prescriptions

On its first year of enactment, California's End of Life Option Act has reportedly allowed 504 terminally ill patients to take life-ending drug prescriptions, while in Oregon, the very first state to adapt the law in 1997, reported 204 individuals who made use of the law in the last year.

Betsy Davis was among the very first ones to take advantage of the law in July 2016, just a mere month after the law's enactment in California. The artist planned a weekend with family and friends before taking the lethal combination of prescribed drugs.

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