By George Eighmey, President of Death with Dignity National Center
It wasn’t even close. Early Friday Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia denied the request for an injunction filed by a group of anti-choice physicians against the California End of Life Option Act. This means the newest Death with Dignity law remains in place and eligible terminally ill Californians can continue to assert control over how they die.
I was at the hearing today, and the judge’s ruling was swift and decisive. The anti-choice physicians, backed by a couple of ultra-right wing groups, presented the same tired, outlandish arguments we had heard years ago in lawsuits in Oregon, Washington, and on the federal level. The judge saw right through them.
In denying the case, the judge decided that the law poses no threat to anyone, especially the doctors who filed the suit knowing full well they can opt out of the law at any time and for any reason.
We were cautiously optimistic and expecting this ruling. We had we won similar lawsuits in Oregon, Washington, and federal courts, when our opponents threatened to thwart those states’ Death with Dignity laws. The judge also rightly saw that the California law had been passed lawfully under the state constitution.
More Work to Be Done
While we count today’s ruling as a significant victory for all Californians and our movement overall, our work is not done. First, the plaintiffs will be filing an appeal. And, a similar lawsuit is pending in Vermont, where the same shadowy anti-choice group that represented the California doctors is pushing their views with local physicians. We must—and we will—continue protecting the laws you fought so hard to pass.
Thank you for everything you do to uphold the right to die.