California cannot force doctors to participate in assisted suicide, court rules

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – A federal district court in California has ruled that doctors cannot be forced to participate in assisted suicide procedures in any way, including by documenting a patient’s request for the procedure before referral to a different physician, the Washington Times reports.

Assisted suicide in the state was legalized through the California Senate Bill 380 in January, with a section of the law requiring that doctors who object to the procedure must still “document” a patient’s request and refer the suicidal person to another physician, the Times said. Specifically, the referring doctor must also “educate” patients about how assisted suicide is carried out.

Represented by law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Christian Medical and Dental Associations and hospice physician Leslee Cochrane filed suit against the state, arguing that forcing doctors to document and explain the procedure to patients amounts to actual participation in assisted suicide.

“Our clients seek to live out their faith in their medical practice, and that includes valuing every human life entrusted to their care.

Participating in physician-assisted suicide very clearly would violate their consciences,” Kevin Theriot, ADF senior counsel, said in a statement.

The district court agreed with the plaintiffs that physicians who “document” a patient’s request for the procedure“ are compelled to participate in the Act through [even its] documentation requirement, despite their objections to assisted suicide.”

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