Christian Doctors Say California’s Assisted Suicide Law Violates Their Conscience

A group of Christian doctors has argued in federal court that California’s assisted suicide law violates their conscience by requiring them to help dying patients obtain lethal drugs.

The Christian Medical & Dental Associations argued Friday in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to halt the law’s enforcement because it violates the doctors’ “belief in the sanctity of human life.”

Dr. Leslee Cochrane, a full-time hospice physician, says in the complaint that he has seen family members pressure mentally feeble patients to end their lives prematurely. He notes that patients “can have very dramatic changes in disposition once their pain is controlled.”

Enacted in 2016, California’s End of Life Options Act legalized assisted suicide for adults diagnosed with a terminal illness.

The law requires that doctors treating a patient’s terminal illness “shall ensure the date of a [physician-assisted suicide] request is documented in an individual’s medical record,” forcing them to provide some of the paperwork needed to obtain the deadly drugs elsewhere.

Advocates say this language gives doctors an “out” by allowing them to pass a patient along to another physician.

Friday’s oral arguments were the latest in a series of legal challenges to the law. In May 2018, a state trial court ruled the law unconstitutional, but a state appeals court reinstated it the next month and the California State Supreme Court later upheld it.

Reporting from The Washington Times.