A group of Christian doctors sued California on Tuesday, saying last year’s changes to the 2015 Suicide Assistance Act would force medical personnel to break their conscience and participate in proceedings they oppose on religious grounds.
The new rules, codified in Bill 380 of the California Senate, now require physicians who have objections to suicide by using, “document” a patient’s request before referring that patient to another physician.
The objecting physician will need to familiarize the patient with medications and procedures that help with death, and transfer the patient files to another physician who will conduct the treatment.
In addition, SB 380 shortens the period between the two legally required patient notifications of a procedure from 15 days to 48 hours. The documentation of the request – even if it is sent to a doctor who has religious or ethical objections to the practice – will be one of those mandatory communications that makes the applicant actually a participant in the end-of-life procedure, the lawsuit alleges.
Mandatory to these actions, lawyers representing Christian Medical and Dental Associations argued that, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court, doctors “seek to pass legal requirements to promote a patient to suicide with help.”
The new bill obliges all California physicians to “provide patients with information on assisted suicide and refer patients to suicide assistance against their religious, ethical and medical objections, and leaves them open to criminal, civil, administrative and professional liability if they fail.” – the complaint says.
According to attorneys for Alliance Defending Freedom, a public interest law firm representing a group of doctors as well as California Hospice doctor Dr. Leslie Cochrane, the new measures, which took effect Jan. 1, will force many to give up the profession.
“When we think about this ongoing pandemic, health workers are certainly needed now more than ever,” ADF lawyer Christy Hirsch said in a telephone interview. “If you force doctors to choose between a violation of conscience or a refusal of medicine, it certainly does no good to anyone.”
Claiming that suicide aid “harms those who are most vulnerable in society”, including the deeply depressed and the poor, Ms Hirsch added: “The government should protect the weak and not license the killing of these most vulnerable people. ».
The Washington Times contacted California Attorney General Rob Bonty, one of the defendants named in the case, for comment, but did not receive an immediate response.