Christian Doctors Sue CA Over Assisted Suicide Law Policy Forcing Them to Violate Conscience

Photo by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash

A California doctor and the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA) are suing the state of California over a change to an assisted suicide law which they say forces them to violate their conscientious objection to the practice.

Dr. Leslee Cochrane, M.D. and the CMDA are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom in their suit, which contends with a recent change to the End of Life Option Act which removed key safeguards from the bill as well as forces doctors to violate their conscientious objections to assisted medical suicide.

“The original End of Life Options Act provided broad protection for conscientiously objecting physicians,” but that the bill now forces doctors to:

  • Document the date of a patient’s initial assisted-suicide request, which counts as the first of two required oral requests;

  • Transfer the records, including that first oral request, to a subsequent physician who may complete the assisted suicide;

  • Diagnose whether a patient has a terminal disease, inform the patient of the medical prognosis, and determine whether a patient has the capacity to make decisions, all of which are statutorily required steps toward assisted suicide;

  • Provide information to a patient about the End of Life Options Act;

  • Provide a requesting patient with a referral to another provider who may complete the assisted suicide.

ADF Senior Counsel Denise Harle, the director of the religious freedom law firm’s Center for Life, said that Dr. Cochrane and CMDA “seek to live out their faith in their medical practice, and that includes valuing every human life entrusted to their care. Participating in, or referring a patient for, physician-assisted suicide very clearly would violate their consciences.”

“No health care professional should be forced to act against their religious beliefs and medical ethics, and the state of California is wrong to enforce such coercion,” she stated.

In a statement to CBN News last week as the suit was filed, the California Attorney General’s office emphasized his intention to enforce the law.

“SB 380 reduced the waiting period for terminally ill individuals who have chosen to end their life via medication prescribed by participating health care providers,” Rob Bonta’s press office stated. “The Attorney General will continue to enforce and defend the law.”

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