Friday, May 25, 2018

Compassion and Choices is spreading incorrect information that could put doctors in jail.

Media release EPC-USA - May 25, 2018.
California doctors can be prosecuted for assisted suicide.

California’s 4th District Court of Appeal denied the stay requested by the Attorney General, Xavier Becerra pertaining to the state’s so called “Death with Dignity” law commonly known as Assisted Suicide. It was in response to last week’s California, Riverside County’s Superior Court Judges’ ruling that California’s legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it decriminalized Assisted Suicide.

There was a special session of the California Legislature convened by the Governor to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled and in-home support services. The bill for Assisted Suicide was introduced in this special session.

Nancy Elliott
Nancy Elliott, Chairman of Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA stated; 
“The judges decisions were right in ruling that Assisted Suicide does not have anything to do with Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled or in-home support services unless the proponents of Assisted Suicide are saying that encouraging people to kill themselves would fix Medicaid’s funding shortfalls. I hope no one is that callous.”
Compassion and Choices, a proponent of Assisted Suicide sent out a press release telling California doctors it was "OK" to continue writing lethal prescriptions and falsifying death certificates.
William O'Brien
Former New Hampshire House Speaker and Euthanasia Prevention Coalition USA board member, the Hon. William O’Brien disagrees stating;

“Compassion and Choices should not be saying that this preserves the law even temporarily. 
“If it was unconstitutionally enacted, there is a very strong argument it never came into effect and no doctor should be relying on it. That can - and should be - the effect of the final order in this case.”
This was confirmed by EPC USA Attorney Sara Buscher; 
“This is a declaratory judgment which means that once the judge declared the law unconstitutional, the law no longer exists. No need for an injunction to invalidate the law. I would argue the law has never existed-- void ab initio.

Local district attorneys can now enforce the law and prosecute the doctors for assisting suicide when writing deadly prescriptions.”
Chairman Elliott further stated; 
“We are very pleased with the rulings. The absence of this law will make the state of California much safer for seniors, those with a disability and those who are ill. We are concerned for doctors that may listen to the baseless propaganda being put out by our opponents and wind up in very serious trouble.”

Thursday, May 24, 2018

California assisted suicide law is unconstitutional, decision upheld by appeals court.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, Riverside Superior Court Judge, Daniel Ottolia, overturned the California assisted suicide law when he ruled that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act. 

California passed the state's assisted suicide law in a special health care funding session after the legislature failed to pass the assisted suicide bill in its normal session.

Judge Ottolia, held that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”

More great news: 

The Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision.

California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, filed an appeal of the decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal. According to the LA Times Becerra argued that:

"The enactment fell within the scope of the special session called, in part, to consider efforts to 'improve the efficiency and efficacy of the health care system ... and improve the health of Californians,' "
Yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision. NPR News reported:
California's Fourth District Court of Appeals on Wednesday refused to stay last week's decision by the Riverside County Superior Court, which ruled that state lawmakers should not have passed the law during a special session on health care funding.
Kaiser Health News reported that:
An appeals court on Wednesday refused to block a court decision that said a California law allowing the terminally ill to end their lives was passed illegally. California's 4th District Court of Appeal refused to grant an immediate stay requested by state Attorney General Xavier Becerra. However, the court gave Becerra and other parties time to "show cause" — that is, provide more arguments as to why the court should grant the stay and suspend the lower court ruling. There was no immediate comment from Becerra's office. (5/23)
The Court of Appeals stated in the decision that the majority agreed with denying a stay of the decision while the minority wanted to grant an immediate stay of the decision. Therefore the Court of Appeals gave "real parties" 25 days to file a formal return as to why a stay should be granted.

Compassion & Choices, a leading assisted suicide lobby group, states, in their press release, that the law remains in effect, despite the appeal court ruling.

I am convinced that C & C is baiting pro-assisted suicide doctors to continue prescribing lethal drugs to enable them to create a legal challenge to the decision that correctly found that the California assisted suicide law is unconstitutional.

Since the California assisted suicide law was declared unconstitutional based on how it was implemented and the Court of Appeals refused to stay the decision. Therefore at this time the California assisted suicide law is not in effect.

Life Legal Defense Foundation is an organization working to prevent assisted suicide in California.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Québec euthanasia deaths increase by 67% in 2017.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention.

A report compiled by Sean Murphy, administrator for the Protection of Conscience Project, indicates that the number of euthanasia deaths (MAiD) increased by 67% in 2017 in Québec.

Murphy published the euthanasia data from Dec 10, 2015 to Dec 10, 2017, comparing the data from the 2016 to the 2017 deaths.

Murphy's indicates that there were 454 reported euthanasia deaths in 2016 and 757 reported euthanasia deaths in 2017 in Québec. Thus in 2017 1.2% of all deaths were by euthanasia (lethal injection).

Murphy's data summary is very important because the law required that the agencies responsible for euthanasia in Québec were required to report, twice yearly, for the first two years and at that point the reporting requirement would end.

Amy Hasbrouck, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition President and founder of the disability rights group Toujours Vivant - Not Dead Yet, analysed the (October 2017) euthanasia report and found significant problems with the reporting of euthanasia in Québec. Hasbrouck indicated the following concerns:
  • 37% of forms/reports from doctors, and an unnamed percentage of reports from institutions, needed more information. Some doctors openly refused to provide the additional information requested by the Commission.
  • The three cases in which the safeguards were clearly violated (two where the person did not have a “serious and incurable illness” and one where the person was not at the “end of life”)were not addressed as the crimes that they are.
  • The commission could not decide compliance in 19 cases (3%).
  • 5% of the cases did not respect the law
  • A 5% or 7% error rate (with 3% undetermined) would not be acceptable where lives depended on the effective application of safeguards (e.g. the airline industry).

The greatest concern is the fact that Québec legalized euthanasia by defining it as a form of medical treatment. Lethal injection is not a form of medical treatment and it is not palliative care. Euthanasia is the abandonment of a person at the greatest time of need.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

California AG appeals court decision that assisted suicide law is unconstitutional

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Last week, a California judge overturned the state’s assisted suicide law ruling that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act.
The Act’s sponsors introduced the bill in a special session of the legislature convened by Governor Jerry Brown to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled, and in-home health support services.

Attorneys successfully argued, in the court, that the End of Life Option Act is not related or even incidental to the stated purpose of the special session.

Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia agreed, holding that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”
California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, filed an appeal of the decision to the 4th District Court of Appeal. The LA Times reported that the appeal stated:
"The enactment fell within the scope of the special session called, in part, to consider efforts to 'improve the efficiency and efficacy of the health care system ... and improve the health of Californians,' " 
"As the Governor indicated, the Act deals with pain, suffering, and the comfort of having the health care options afforded by the Act."
Judge Ottolia struck down California's assisted suicide law based on its unconstitutional implementation. The California's assisted suicide law should have been rejected because the law discriminates against people at the most vulnerable time of their life, by giving doctors, the right in law, to assist with killing patients when they require care and not lethal drugs.

New Zealand euthanasia committee delays report by 6 months.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Euthanasia Free New Zealand is working in coalition with many groups to oppose the legalization of euthanasia. 

Yesterday, the New Zealand Justice Select Committee examining the euthanasia bill received a 6 month extension to submit its report based on the reality that the committee received 35,000 submissions for consideration.

Radio New Zealand reported that 10% of the submissions to the committee included a request to present in person and the committee intends to make this possible. RNZ reported:
Raymond Huo
The committee's chair Labour Party member Raymond Huo said the hearings would enable as many individuals and community organisations as possible to be heard. 
"The Justice Committee intends to hear from all submitters who have asked to be heard," Mr Huo said. 
"Hearing evidence in the regions will help ensure that as many individuals and community organisations as possible can present their views and that the committee take account of all of the submissions in an open-minded and balanced way," he said. 
Maggie Barry
Justice Committee deputy chair Maggie Barry said the number of submissions signalled the importance of conducting hearings. 
"The very large number of carefully considered individual submissions reveals just how seriously New Zealanders take the potential change of law to allow euthanasia and assisted suicide," she said. 
Several legislators have changed their position on the euthanasia bill. SBS news reported:
The bill - drafted by the libertarian ACT Party - passed its first reading in parliament by 76 votes to 44 but may face a tougher time in the second, with some politicians and disability advocates raising concerns about whether it's too broad in its criteria.
Many International groups also made submissions and asked to be given an opportunity for an oral presentation, including the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition. Based on our experience, the more information that is given to legislators, the more likely they are to oppose euthanasia.

The committee hearings started yesterday.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Fatal Flaws Screening in Channel Islands (Guernsey) Helps Defeat Assisted Suicide proposal.

Kevin Dunn with Dr Carmen Wheatley
By Kevin Dunn
Director - Fatal Flaws
During the government debate there was a moving moment when Deputy Graham McKinley, after announcing he had seen the Fatal Flaws film on Alderney, and how moved he was by it, bravely explained why he was abandoning the Requete.” 
Dr. Carmen Wheatley, Executive Director, Assisted Living, Guernsey (UK)
I had always hoped this film would be a game-changer. Looks like it’s happening.
I’ve just returned from The Channel Islands, UK where we had two screenings of Fatal Flaws: Legalizing Assisted Death. One in Guernsey and another in Alderney. These screenings happened just prior to a three day debate and vote on assisted suicide. According to The Guardian, “if the Requete had passed, Guernsey would have become the first place in the British Isles to offer euthanasia for people with terminal illnesses.” Instead they voted to improve palliative care on the island.

Newspaper ad promoting Fatal Flaws
The sponsor of the screening, Dr. Carmen Wheatley, Orthomolecular Oncology Medical Researcher and Executive Director of Assisted Living, Guernsey, reached out to me a few weeks ago and asked me if I would come to the Island before the vote. 

  • Order the film - Fatal Flaws and the Fatal Flaws pamphlets today.

  • In an email Dr Wheatley sent me today, she told me that during the debate, a Deputy for Alderney revealed to all that he had seen your film there, had become very moved by the content, listened to the Alderney folk, and changed his mind. The other Requeteers were not expecting this final coup de grace. In a more formal statement, she wrote 
    “In spite of misrepresentations of the film by campaigners, who refused to view it, and a mysterious blockade on TV and radio interviews from the one person on Guernsey, Kevin Dunn, who not only lives in a country, Canada, with such death legislation, but has been to no less than 6 jurisdictions/countries, interviewing doctors, patients, families on both sides of the divide, this documentary deeply impressed those few Deputies and the larger public who saw it.”
    She went on to say, 
    “To the extent that 1 of 2 Alderney representatives, who had originally, – and probably against his better judgement, been one of the signatories of the Requete, found the courage shortly before the decisive vote to publicly and dramatically renege on his allegiance to the Requete, thus adding to the strength of the decisive final No vote.”
    In the film, I asked journalist Gerbert Van Loenen from The Netherlands, “who is telling the other side of the story?” He said, “I’m afraid no one.” 
    Through the testimonies of so many brave and passionate people in this film, we were able to do just that: tell stories of a highly underrepresented group of people and shine a light on a dark corner of the political and medical landscape. 

    What could be more important than saving the lives of the vulnerable?

    Kudos to the entire FF team.

    Kevin Dunn, Director

    Swiss assisted suicide clinic founder charged with profiteering

    Alex Schadenberg
    Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

    Minelli at the Dignitas clinic
    udwig Minelli, the founder of the Dignitas assisted suicide clinic, has been charged for profiteering in the deaths of his clients. Accusations that Minelli charges inappropriate fees at the Dignitas clinic have circulated for years.

    The Swiss media have reported that prosecutors are basing their case on two key cases. According to the Swiss Local:
    In one of the cases, Minelli allegedly in 2010 charged a mother and daughter pair around 10,000 francs each instead of the usual cost of some 5,000 to 6,000 francs. 
    In the second case, Minelli is alleged in 2003 to have taken advantage of an 80-year-old woman who was sick but not terminally ill. He approached four doctors before finally finding one who was willing to aid to woman to commit suicide. 
    Prosecutors argue his persistence in this second case was based on the fact the woman had promised a 100,000-franc donation to Dignitas on her death. They also argue the woman gave power of attorney to Minelli, allowing him to transfer 46,000 francs to a Dignitas account when she died.
    Swiss law permits assisted suicide as long as it is not done for “self-serving” motives. Breaking the law could result in a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

    Soraya Wernli
    Several years ago, Soraya Wernli, a former Dignitas employee, told the Daily Mail that  Minelli was selling the personal effects of his dead clients at pawn shops and he was charging some of his clients exorbitant fees. Wernli also told the Daily Mail about the horrific death of Peter Auhagen. 
    According to the article:
    The gruesome 70-hour death of Peter Auhagen was the case that ended Wernli’s career with Dignitas and caused her to agree to be a secret informer for the police who were investigating Minelli. 
    Usually Minelli used a lethal dose of barbiturates to assist suicides but in the case of Auhagen, Minelli decided to test a “suicide machine” that the patient controlled the administration of drugs. Wernli said that: ‘the machine had a fault which meant it couldn’t pump all the poison into his system. The man was partially poisoned, in agony and thrashing around in a coma, frothing at the mouth and sweating. ... It was a terrible thing to witness, and I knew it could not go on. 
    Wernli recounts that Auhagen was still alive. She called Minelli who then came by and after a heated discussion he told the family to go for a walk and then someone administered the drugs by injection. Wernli claims that Minelli kept a supply of drugs in his personal office in case of an emergency.
    Pietro D'Amico
    In April 2013, Pietro D’Amico, a 62-year-old magistrate from Calabria Italy, died by assisted suicide at a suicide clinic in Basel Switzerland. His autopsy showed that he had 
    a wrong diagnosis.

    In February 2014, Oriella Cazzanello, an 85 year-old healthy woman died at a Swiss suicide clinic. The letter she sent her family stated that she was unhappy about how she looked.

    Minelli also accused of dumping human remains into Lake Zurich.

    Sadly, if convicted, prosecutors appear to be only seeking a fine.

    Assisted suicide bill overwhelmingly defeated in Guernsey

    Guernsey Parliament
    Alex Schadenberg
    Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

    More incredible news: The Guernsey parliament, today, defeated a proposal to legalize assisted suicide in the British Island state by a vote of 24 to 14.

    This is incredible news considering the resources that the assisted suicide lobby invested into passing assisted suicide in Guernsey, that they viewed as a possible "opening" to the legalization of assisted suicide in the UK.

    Guernsey newspaper ad.
    According to the Guardian the assisted suicide proposal was based on the Oregon model.

    A coalition of groups formed to defeat the bill included disability rights groups - Not Dead Yet UK, and the Guernsey Disability Alliance, also the British Medical Association, and the Care Not Killing Alliance in the UK. 

    Carmen, from Assisted Living Guernsey booked Kevin Dunn, producer of the film - Fatal Flaws - to address a audience after the screening of Fatal Flaws in Guernsey. We are happy to state that some members of the Guernsey parliament attended the screening of Fatal Flaws and one member changed his position on assisted suicide after watching Fatal Flaws.

    Dr Peter Saunders
    Peter Saunders, campaign director for the Care Not Killing Alliance was reported in the Shropshire Star as stating:

    “We welcome this strong rejection of this dangerous proposition by the elected Deputies on the Island. 
    “Parliamentarians across the UK have rightly rejected attempts to introduce assisted suicide and euthanasia ten times since 2003 out of concern for public safety, including in 2015 when the House of Commons overwhelmingly voted against any change in the law by 330 votes to 118. 
    “We know the Deputies in Guernsey will now turn their attention to the real issues facing disabled people and the terminally ill on the island, ensuring equality of access to the very best health care available and how to fund this.”
    Recently the Finland parliament rejected euthanasia and a California court struck down the California assisted suicide law as unconstitutional.

    Thursday, May 17, 2018

    Lawyer: Canada's euthanasia law is unconstitutional.

    Ken Berger: "persons with disabilities are being assisted to their death rather than being assisted with life"
    Alex Schadenberg
    Executive Director - Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

    Roger Foley
    Ken Berger, the lawyer representing Roger Foley, a man who is stuck in a London, Ontario hospital for two years, told CTV news that has urged Canada’s justice minister to halt all medically assisted deaths until the government can ensure that all necessary services are first proved to patients to live.

  • Canadian man wants assisted life not assisted death.

  • According to CTV news, Berger sent a letter to Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, requesting the “immediate moratorium” and a public inquiry on all assisted deaths provided in the country so far. Berger wrote:

    “Persons suffering with severe disabilities require necessary health care, assistance and compassion, 
    These crucial services are not always provided at times of most need or in such a way that relieves suffering; instead, persons with disabilities are being assisted to their death rather than being assisted with life.”
    Foley lives with cerebellar ataxia, an incurable neurological disease, recently filed a landmark lawsuit against a London hospital, several health agencies, the Ontario government and the federal government. He alleges that health officials will not provide him with an assisted home care team of his choosing, instead offering, among other things, medically assisted death. CTV news reported that:
    according to his statement of claim, the only two options offered to him have been a “forced discharge” from the hospital “to work with contracted agencies that have failed him” or medically assisted death. Refusing to leave the hospital and unwilling to die by a doctor’s hand, Foley claims he has been threatened with a $1,800 per day hospital bill.
    Berger told CTV news that he believes that his client is not alone in his suffering and frustration.
    “There are many individuals that are not being offered alternatives 
    They are not being supported or not having the necessary services put in place in a way that relieves their suffering.”
    According to CTV news, Berger wrote in his letter to the Justice Minister that: 
    “all necessary health services are provided before persons are misled into premature and inappropriate deaths because of their belief that they are a burden to society with no alternative to death.”
    The CTV news continued:
    Berger and Foley argue the current assisted death legislation violates the Charter’s right to “life, liberty and security of the person” when assisted death is offered before other care options. 
    “(Foley) is substantially suffering,” Berger said. “He is going to fight this, not only to protect his own constitutional rights, but also the constitutional right of all Canadians.”
    Trudo Lemmens
    Trudo Lemmens, a professor and Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, told CTV news by email that Foley’s case should be taken seriously.

    “We focus too much on stories of empowered people who want to use medically assisted death, often with the message that access should be easier,”  
    “We rarely hear stories about (often unconscious) pressure and inappropriately conducted MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying), but that doesn’t mean this doesn’t happen.” 
    “People who are dead don’t complain,”
    According to CTV news, Lemmens wants to see governments and other regulators institute clear procedures, better legal guidance, and greater oversight to ensure patients receive proper treatment and are not pressured into choosing death.

    The Push Is on For Elderly Assisted Suicide

    The following article was published by National Review online on May 14, 2018

    Wesley Smith
    By Wesley Smith

    The assisted suicide in Switzerland of the aged scientist David Goodall — and the media swoon over the event — has pushed the assisted-suicide advocacy envelope beyond the dying to the elderly.

    A notable example is an article published at the Center for Science and Health, where an MD named Jamie Wells pushes the idea that elderly people should have access to assisted suicide even if they are not diagnosed with a terminal condition. From the article:
    Traditionally, arguments to enact these laws are fashioned around the notion of liberating a patient from terminal usually insufferable disease. But, the recent intentional death by 104-year-old scientist David Goodall via euthanasia brings to the forefront whether to deem deterioration from advanced aging as another reasonable consideration.
    This was always the plan: Get people softened up to the idea of assisted suicide with fear-mongering about excruciating terminal illnesses — generally a false premise and not the reason why the vast majority of assisted suicides are actually carried out — and then, once enough of society had accepted the idea, push the envelope to people who are not dying. It’s all been a big scam.

    Of course Wells thinks we should go there!
    In his final act, David Goodall challenges how we see aging and leaves a legacy that may not immediately change American laws but certainly starts an important conversation. The discussion, in general, has considerably advanced since the days of Jack Kevorkian. Society and the empathetic lens by which we see the world seems to be progressing, and that’s a good thing. . . . 
    Whether we view aging as a terminal disease is up for debate; but, the question remains, if we choose how we live, some freely opting for daily imperilment while others are risk averse consumed with fear, then who is to say how we die?
    They always say, “start a conversation,” and when they win, they insist the conversation must stop.

    Think about this. We have a terrible elder-abuse crisis. Geriatric depression is a severe problem, which is often untreated or given short shrift. Then, there are the problems of loneliness and isolation. Legalizing assisted suicide for the elderly would be a disaster.

    Think about this too: If they are beginning to push elder assisted suicide before doctor-prescribed death for the dying is generally legalized throughout the U.S., imagine what will happen if it ever is. It won’t take long before those eligible for termination include people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and the mentally ill — as now occurs in the Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada — all places where euthanasia and assisted suicide have been popularly embraced.

    That is why we must prevent this agenda from advancing beyond the six states and D.C. that have legalized assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Lives are at stake — people who may want to die today for a wide variety of reasons, but who in weeks or months — given proper interventions — will be very glad they are still alive.

    P.S. The ACHS touts itself a “pro-science consumer advocacy organization.” Assisted suicide has nothing whatsoever to do with “science.” It is a question of ethics, morality, and determining public policy that best protects the general welfare.

    Brain death court cases becoming more common.

    Alex Schadenberg
    Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

    Taquisha McKitty's daughter
    As the family of Taquisha McKitty await the decision in the "brain death" case in Brampton Ontario, it is shocking to read how common brain death court cases are becoming.

    Based on the immenent release of the McKitty decision, CBC News interviewed Hugh Scher, the lawyer for the McKitty family. According to CBC news Scher stated:

    "It raises a serious question as to what is death in Ontario and in Canada. There is no statutory legal definition," said Scher on Metro Morning Tuesday. "We're hopeful this case will provide some guidance." 
    Scher and the McKitty family say that beyond breathing and having a heartbeat, Taquisha shows other signs of life — like moving her legs — that prove she's still biologically alive. 
    "She eats, she drinks, her organs function," said Scher, comparing her to "many other people with a severe neurological impairment."
    Hugh Scher was also the lawyer in the Shalom Ouanounou case in Toronto. 

    Areen Chakrabarti with mother
    Meanwhile a New Jersey hospital is embroiled in two cases. 

    Areen Chakrabarti, who is on the autism spectrum, ran upstairs during the confusion of an April 14 fire suffered severe smoke inhalation, Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia state that Areen is brain dead but his mother says that her son responds to her. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
    When Areen was admitted to CHOP on April 15, physicians urged his mother to consider removing him from life support. After more than a week, the hospital told her the boy would be removed from life support if tests revealed a complete lack of brain activity. 
    Banerjee, who has maintained a near-constant bedside vigil at the hospital, says her son remains aware of her presence. She said when the boy’s blood pressure becomes elevated, it falls again when she speaks to him.
    Jayden Auyeung with mother
    Sadly, there is a second case occurring at the same hospital. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

    Anna and Jonathan Auyeung, the parents of Jayden Auyeung, filed for a temporary restraining order in Common Pleas Court on Wednesday, their child’s 10th birthday. The Edison, N.J., boy, has a genetic motor neuron disease, couldn’t breathe after a mucus plug developed in his throat while he was at home on May 4, his mother said. Despite efforts to revive him, he had to be taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., where he was placed on life support. Two days later he was transferred to CHOP, which had treated him for ye. 
    His mother does not accept that there is no hope of her son’s recovering. 
    “When we touch him or talk to him, he moves his finger and moves his leg and moves his mouth,” Anna Auyeung said, but she was told not to see these as positive signs. “Doctors said it was spinal reflex,” she said.
    All of these cases are incredibly difficult but the question of brain death creates confusion. These people are biologically alive, are moving and reacting, and have been declared dead.

    There must be a better way to deal with these situations.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2018

    California Assisted-Suicide Law Unconstitutionally Enacted

    This article was published by National Review online on May 16, 2018

    Wesley Smtih
    By Wesley Smith

    A California judge has invalidated the state’s assisted-suicide law as unconstitutionally enacted.

    Here’s the story. Opponents of assisted suicide had successfully blocked legislation in committee during the regular 2015 session. That was that for the year — until Jerry Brown called a special session to deal with Medicaid financing and related issues.

    Sensing an opportunity to pull an end run, the speaker of the Assembly had a new bill introduced to legalize assisted suicide during the special session — which was not germane to the purpose for which the special session had been called.

    To ensure it passed, he pulled the “no” votes out of the pertinent committee and stuffed it with known “yes” votes. The thing was then rushed through in two weeks — a dirty deal wholly lacking in honor and circumventing the usual democratic processes. Jerry Brown signed it anyway, saying he might want to to kill himself someday during a final illness.

    Life Legal Defense Foundation and others filed suit, claiming that the subject of the special session had nothing to do with assisted suicide, and hence, was wrongfully enacted under the California Constitution. The trial judge agreed. From the L.A. Times story:
    Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia said Tuesday that the California Legislature violated the law by passing the End of Life Option Act during a special session dedicated to healthcare issues, according to the plaintiffs in the case as well as advocates for the law . . . 
    “This ruling affirms that assisted suicide advocates circumvented the legislative process,” Matt Valliere, executive director of the New York-based Patients Rights Action Fund, which opposes legalizing physician-assisted suicide, said in a statement. “It represents a tremendous blow to the assisted suicide legalization movement and puts state legislatures on notice regarding the political trickery of groups like Compassion and Choices.”
    Yes. An all too unusual affirmation that the rule of law still matters and that legislative procedures are not mere “technicalities” as Compassion and Choices (formerly, the Hemlock Society) groused in their instant fund-raising letter after the ruling — but crucial to our system of ordered liberty.

    What will happen now? I assume that the ever-more-radical legislature will try and pass a new law, if the current ruling stands on appeal. It would also not surprise me if an appeals court stays the ruling as many judges are results oriented.

    But doctors should pause in their lethal prescription writing, at least for now. Moreover, it allows opponents of assisted suicide the rare opportunity to present their arguments in a media that often ignores or misstates their views.

    Finally, this stumble for the suicide forces illustrates that their death agenda isn’t inevitable. Opponents will never stop fighting through every possible peaceful, legal, and democratic process. Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” As far as we are concerned, it will never be over.

    The judge has not yet issued his written ruling. When he does, I will report on it here if there is any news to tell beyond what was reported above.

    Me? I’m drinking a toast to Judge Ottolia!

    Tuesday, May 15, 2018

    Judge strikes down California's assisted suicide law.

    Alex Schadenberg
    Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

    Judge Daniel Ottolia, of the Riverside County Superior Court, struck down California's assisted suicide law. Justice Ottolia agreed that the state legislature violated the state constitution by passing the assisted suicide law during a special session that was limited to healthcare issues.

    Harris Meyer reporting for Modern Healthcare news stated:
    Two groups and several physicians opposed to physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients had filed the suit to block the 2016 law, the California End of Life Option Act. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia issued an oral ruling saying the Legislature acted illegally in passing the law.

    He gave the state attorney general five days to file an emergency petition to stay his order while the ruling is appealed.
    Alexandra Snyder, with Life Legal Defense was also arguing that the assisted suicide law violates the right to equal protection under the law. Meyer reported:
    ...the California assisted-suicide law violates state equal protection provisions because people who are deemed terminally ill lose critical legal protections. Normally when there is a suspected suicide, authorities investigate the cause of death to see if the person was coerced, she said.

    "But that doesn't happen when someone requests aid in dying," Snyder said. "Then everything is considered above board and the doctors were acting in perfect faith. That's simply not true. The law doesn't provide adequate safeguards, and it doesn't require any mental health evaluation."
    It is tragic that the legal system moves so slow. This case was launched when the assisted suicide law came into effect and yet it took nearly two years to have this case heard by the court.

    Judge Rules California’s Assisted Suicide Law Unconstitutional

    This media release was sent out by Life Legal Defense on May 15, 2018

    NAPA, Calif., May 15, 2018 — A California judge overturned the state’s assisted suicide law this morning, ruling that the legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the End of Life Option Act.

    The Act’s sponsors introduced the bill in a special session of the legislature convened by Governor Jerry Brown to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the disabled, and in-home health support services.

    Life Legal attorneys appeared in court this morning to argue that the End of Life Option Act, which decriminalizes physician-assisted suicide, is not related or even incidental to the stated purpose of the special session. Suicide is not health care.

    Riverside Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia agreed, holding that “the End of Life Option Act does not fall within the scope of access to healthcare services,” and that it “is not a matter of health care funding.”

    Life Legal filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings in March 2018, arguing that the law should be overturned because the manner in which it was passed is unconstitutional. We have argued from the outset that suicide has nothing to do with the provision of health services.

    California Attorney General Xavier Becerra opposed our motion, stating that legislation passed during special sessions is presumed to be constitutional. The Attorney General also argued that Life Legal’s plaintiff physicians do not have standing to challenge the End of Life Option Act.

    Alexandra Snyder
    Judge Ottolia ruled that doctors do have standing to bring challenges on behalf of their patients, especially in this case, as terminally ill patients would face significant difficulties filing their own lawsuits against the Act.

    “We are thrilled by today’s ruling, which reinstates critical legal protections for vulnerable patients,” said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “The court made it very clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with increasing access to health care and that hijacking the special session to advance an unrelated agenda is impermissible.”

    Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, was present at the hearing. 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.

    Stephanie has spoken out against assisted suicide in California and other states, saying, “I am so grateful that California’s assisted suicide law was overturned today. The bill’s proponents tout dignity, choice, compassion, and painlessness. I am here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. Choice is really an illusion for a very few. For too many, assisted suicide will be the only affordable ‘treatment’ that is offered them.”

    It is anticipated that Attorney General Becerra will appeal today’s ruling.