A state appeals court on Tuesday, Nov. 28 overturned a lower court ruling that halted California’s “right to die” law in late May, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The law, in effect since 2016, allows terminally ill Californians to legally end their lives with a lethal drug after meeting certain requirements.
In a 2-1 ruling, the court stated that the physicians who originally sued to overturn California’s End of Life Option Act in 2016, had no legal standing because they and their patients are free to opt out of participating in the law. They must show legal standing before the case can continue, according to a news release from the national nonprofit Compassion & Choices.
In May, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia granted a motion to overturn the Act, saying the legislature violated the California constitution by passing the right-to-die law during a special session that was limited to healthcare issues.
A state appeals court issued an immediate stay of Ottolia’s ruling to put the law back into effect while the state’s appeal of the ruling was under consideration.
The End of Life Option Act passed after gaining public support based on the advocacy of UC Irvine graduate Brittany Maynard.
Maynard, 29, who had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, publicized videos of her final weeks after she moved to Oregon to avail herself of the state’s Death With Dignity Act.
Videos of her decision to take her own life, on Nov. 1, 2014 — and to urge passage of an assisted-death law in California — were viewed by millions.
According to Compassion & Choices, since June 9, 2016, at least 191 terminally ill adults in California have received prescriptions for the lethal drugs.
Appeals court overturns challenge to California’s right-to-die law