Doctors sue state for forcing them to help with 'suicides'

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)
(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

Doctors have filed a lawsuit in California against the state’s attorney general, health department chief, and others who make up the state Medical Board over a plan that would require them to participate in assisted “suicides.”

For most of the history of the United States, “helping” someone kill themselves has been a crime. But multiple states now are adopting the “assisted suicide” story line and imposing requirements to help that agenda.

In California, the lawsuit is being brought by a Christian doctor as well as the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, for the law “that requires doctors to participate in physician-assisted suicide against their religious convictions and professional ethics.”

According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the plaintiffs, the state’s End of Life Options Act legalized assisted suicides in 2015.

“Then, despite the medical-ethics consensus that no physician should be forced to participate in physician-assisted suicide even where the practice is allowed, California recently legislated to not only eliminate important safeguards from the End of Life Options Act, but also force conscientious physicians to participate in the process,” the ADF reported.

Lawyer Denis Harle explained, “Our clients 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.”

Another lawyer on the case, Kevin Theriot, said, “Allowing doctors to exercise their best medical judgment consistent with their personal moral principles has long been widely accepted in the medical community; that includes allowing them to decline to participate in ending a patient’s life. It’s vital that the state protect faith-based physicians so they can continue to offer their valuable services to their communities without violating their deeply held religious beliefs—the very beliefs that made them passionate to serve others through this profession.”

CMDA is a national association of conscientious Christian health care professionals whose personal religious convictions and professional ethics oppose the practice of assisted suicide. Dr. Leslee Cochrane, a member of CMDA, is a California-licensed physician who is also joining the lawsuit.

Named as defendants are Rob Bonta as AG, Tomas Aragon as chief of the state health department and medical board members Kristina Lawson, Randy Hawkins, Laurie Rose Lubiano, Ryan Brooks, Alejandra Campoverdi, and others.

The filing, in U.S. District of the Central District of California, explains, “For 2,500 years the medical profession has forbidden doctors from giving patients lethal drugs. Society relies on this prohibition and trusts physicians to be healers when that is possible, and to provide comfort when healing is no longer possible.

“Despite coming under attack from time to time, the idea that a health care professional should not be forced to participate in acts that violate their ‘good medical judgment’ or ‘personally held moral principles’ has long been widely accepted, as reflected in federal appropriations protections for conscientiously objecting health care professionals that have been passed since the 1970s, such as the ‘Church Amendments…'”

Even today the American Medical Association’s ethics hold that doctor-assisted suicide “is fundamentally incompatible with the physicians’ role as healer.”

One problem is that lawmakers insisted that promoting the assisted suicide to a patient, giving the patient a referral to a doctor who would help, and providing document of records did not, in their opinion, consist of “participating” in the suicide.

Even at the time, the lawmakers were informed that “raised constitutional questions with respect to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion.”

The fact is the law “leaves physicians who refuse to … inform a patient of his medical prognosis, determine decision-making capacity, inform a patient about California’s End of Life Options Act, refer a patient to a physician who may be willing to participate in assisted suicide, document a patient’s assisted-suicide request, or transfer a patient’s file with his documented assisted-suicide request and other relevant information, open to ‘civil, criminal, administrative, disciplinary, employment, credentialing, professional discipline, contractual liability, or medical staff action, sanctions, or penalty…”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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