Ultimately, we are confident an appeals court will rule the legislature duly passed the End of Life Option Act and reinstate this perfectly valid law, which the strong majority of Californians support.. The bills proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness.
"After the End of Life Option Act was implemented, Stephanie's insurance company denied coverage of life-saving chemotherapy treatment, but said it would pay for "aid-in-dying" drugs, which would cost $1.20", Life Legal said.
The California law permits state residents who have been diagnosed with terminal illnesses and supposedly have less than six months of life remaining to receive a prescription from a physician for a lethal dose of drugs.
Brittany Maynard garnered national attention when she and her husband packed their belongings into a U-Haul and drove 600 miles north from California to OR so she could take advantage of the state's right-to-die law and die peacefully.
"We're very satisfied with the court's decision today", said Stephen G. Larson, lead counsel for doctors who sued to stop the law.
However, Larson challenged the bill specifically on the fact that the special session was called "to address funding shortages caused by Medi-Cal".
The initial legislative effort to pass an assisted suicide bill failed in committee during the 2015 regular season, following months of media attention to the case of Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with an aggressive brain tumor who moved from California to OR in order to take advantage of legal physician-assisted suicide there. "For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable "treatment" that is offered them", she said.
Assemblywoman Susan Talamantes Eggman, who backed the bill, charged that the judge's decision interfered with Californians in the process of securing the lethal drugs under the law. "When we move forward, there are those who would like to drag us back".
"I have carefully read the thoughtful opposition materials presented by a number of doctors, religious leaders and those who champion disability rights", he wrote.
Supporters seek to widen legalization of the practice so that patients with incurable diseases can die with less pain and suffering.
David Stevens, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, praised the opinion, saying in a written statement, "Assisted suicide is not healthcare, it has no role in the healing arts of medicine, and it is risky for patients, medicine and society". "California law now pits the financial interests of health care providers, especially in cases where the provider and insurer are the same entity, against the needs of patients".
Her story incited more awareness for the Death With Dignity movement, which began in OR when a group of physicians helped pass the first statewide law that allowed for terminally ill patients to request drugs to end their lives.
"I keep thinking of all the people who are facing a terminal illness and they're considering the use of this law, and they're in limbo right now and this right might be taken away from them", her sister said.
"There is far too much still not known about how this law is put into practice - especially as it pertains to disabled, elderly and other populations", the conference said January 24.