CHA News Article

Physician-Assisted Death Law Ruled Unconstitutional

A Riverside County Superior Court ruled in May that California’s End of Life Option Act violated the state constitution because it was passed during a special legislative session called to work on other issues. The act, which went into effect in 2016, allows terminally ill individuals to obtain a prescription for a drug to end their life if they meet specified requirements.

The judge’s ruling was limited to this procedural issue; he did not rule on the legality of physician-assisted death. The California attorney general appealed the ruling and requested the appellate court to allow the act to be effective while the appeal is pending. The appellate court responded by ordering the parties to submit briefs on the legal issues involved. In addition, the attorney general filed a motion to vacate the trial court judgment, and a hearing on that motion will be held June 29.

In the meantime, the superior court’s ruling declaring the act void and enjoining the state from recognizing it remains in effect throughout the state. CHA will update its members on the status of the case after the hearing later this month.