A California physician-assisted suicide law likely violates the First Amendment. The California law took effect in January and forces doctors to take part in assisted suicide. On September 2nd, Trump appointed U.S. District Judge Fernando Aenlle-Rocha for the Central District of California ruled that the law likely violates the First Amendment rights of doctors. Conscientious objectors are more than justified in their desire to stay their hands. He granted a preliminary injunction. Now the state cannot compel health care providers to document a patient’s request for life-ending medication.
The decision comes in a federal lawsuit a group of Christian doctors filed against the state of California in February seeking to halt enforcement of the law, California Senate Bill 380, which is a piece of legislation that amends the End of Life Option Act, the 2015 law that legalized assisted suicide in California.
The original 2015 law allowed a patient to receive drugs to end their life if two doctors certify that the patient has six or fewer months to live and is mentally competent to make the decision, and if the patient has verbally requested the life-ending drugs on two occasions at least 15 days apart, as well as later providing a written request and confirming their intention to die by signing a form 48 hours before self-ingesting the life-ending drugs.
SB 380 allowed patients to make the two verbal requests for the life-ending drugs at least 48 hours apart—that is, 2 days instead of 15 days—and eliminated the written request and the final attestation.
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) and Dr. Leslee Cochrane—who is a member of CMDA and a California-licensed physician who joined the lawsuit—sued the state in February. More than 90 percent of CMDA members “would rather stop practicing medicine than be forced to participate in assisted suicide or other practices in violation of their consciences,” the complaint reads.