California Assisted Suicide Law Overturned In Court

Last month, a state court judge threw out California’s assisted suicide law on procedural grounds.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia found the 2015 law unconstitutional because it was passed during a special legislative session that had been called for other reasons. The special session had been called to address the issue of health care funding, and Judge Ottolia ruled that the assisted suicide law was not germane (relevant) to that purpose. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has appealed the decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal. Significantly, the Court of Appeal denied the Attorney General’s request that the lower court’s ruling be stayed pending the outcome of the appeal. At this time, assisted suicide is no longer legal in California.

While the court’s decision could be reversed on appeal, and while the California State Legislature could pass a new assisted suicide law to get around the court’s decision, there is still cause for celebration at this news. As commentator and author Wesley Smith has stated, the court’s decision reminds us that “[the] death agenda isn’t inevitable.” Despite a nationwide full-court press by assisted suicide advocates, assisted suicide is now only legal in five states (Hawaii’s assisted suicide law is scheduled to go into effect next year). Even here in liberal New York, a determined alliance of diverse voices, known as the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide, has been able (with the Lord’s help) to prevent assisted suicide legislation from being passed in either house of the State Legislature.

Friends, our pro-life labors are not in vain.