Christian medical professionals fight back against physician-assisted suicide law in Calif.

by mcardinal

Megan Udinski, FISM News



A Christian medical group is suing California lawmakers, fearing a new law will require physicians to perform assisted suicide even if it goes against their conscience or beliefs.

On Tuesday the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) alongside Leslee Cochrane, M.D., filed a lawsuit against the state’s attorney general, the director of public health, and the members of the Medical Board of California. 

In 2015, California passed a law called the End of Life Options Act legalizing physician-assisted suicide. Until recently, the law had a provision protecting physicians who, on good conscience, would not perform such an act. 

According to the CMDA, over 90% of its members would rather stop practicing medicine entirely than be forced to act in a way that would counter their belief in the sanctity of human life. 

The other plaintiff, Dr. Leslee Cochrane, works in a hospice setting where he interacts with terminally ill patients daily. He expressed that “participating in assisted suicide in any way would be contrary to his best medical professional judgment and medical ethics” and not just his personal religious views. According to a 2010 statistic, one in five hospice patients left hospice alive.

Cochrane lists examples of why one might end up seeking out physician-assisted suicide due to extreme but temporary pain leading to emotional, spiritual, and mental distress. Many individuals would later redact their request once their pain was managed. 

He also wants to protect individuals from external influences, such as family that might desire a quick end to their life by utilizing physician-assisted suicide even if the ill-person would not choose that means.

The plaintiffs further explain in the lawsuit that for the past 2,500 years it has been illegal for doctors to provide lethal drugs to patients and emphasized the idea that “The common goal is life with dignity until natural death occurs.” 

The document supports their position by referencing previous legal cases and legislative acts where the government has determined that individual physicians have the right to not perform medical services contrary to their personal beliefs, such as Roe v. Wade, the Affordable Care Act, the Hippocratic Oath, and Washington v. Glucksberg where the courts upheld the view that “physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer.” 

The amendments to the SB380, which took effect in October, would force physicians who are opposed to assisted suicide to still participate to some degree by recording the individual’s request, giving them a doctor who might be willing to assist them, and transferring their medical records to make the request possible. Otherwise, it no longer provides legal protection for doctors who would refuse to partake. 

Additionally, one of the amendments changes the requirement that an individual make two requests for assisted suicide at least 15 days apart to only 48 hours apart. 

These changes are yet another example of the left’s attacks on human dignity and the belief that only God can give and take away life.