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Life Legal Seeks to Have California Assisted Suicide Law Held Unconstitutional
Contact: Alexandra Snyder, Life Legal Defense Foundation, 202-717-7371

NAPA, Calif., May 14, 2018 /Standard Newswire/ -- Life Legal attorneys will appear in court tomorrow, May 15, to argue that California's assisted suicide law—the End of Life Option Act—should be declared unconstitutional because the state legislature acted outside the scope of its authority when it enacted the Act.

In June of 2015, Governor Jerry Brown convened an extraordinary session of the legislature to address Medicaid funding shortfalls, services for the developmentally disabled, and in-home support services. While the California Constitution permits the Governor to issue proclamations to convene extraordinary legislative sessions, the Legislature is prohibited from enacting bills that are not the specific subject of the proclamation.

The California Supreme Court has held that "The duty of the Legislature in special session to confine itself to the subject matter of the call is of course mandatory. It has no power to legislate on any subject not specified in the proclamation."

The purpose of the End of Life Option Act is to decriminalize physician-assisted suicide, which is not related or even incidental to the stated purpose of the extraordinary session. Suicide does not improve health.

The sponsors of the Act knew the Act would never pass through the normal legislative process, so they unlawfully exploited the extraordinary session to advance their agenda behind closed doors. Legislation allowing doctors to prescribe lethal drugs is highly controversial and opposed by many members of the state legislature, as well as disability rights groups, hospitals, physicians' groups, and the Life Legal Defense Foundation.

"This flagrant and unlawful abuse of the legislative process cannot be permitted to stand. If the Attorney General has his way, virtually any special interest bill could be enacted by a select handful of legislators," said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. "The California Constitution expressly prohibits such an outcome, as it violates the democratic process, which requires legislation to be approved by the full body of elected representatives."

Stephanie Packer, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, will be present at the hearing. After the End of Life Option Act was implemented, Stephanie's insurance company denied coverage of life-saving chemotherapy treatment, but said it would pay for "aid-in-dying" drugs.

Stephanie has spoken out against assisted suicide in California and other states, saying, "As soon as this law was passed — and you see it everywhere when these laws are passed — patients fighting for a longer life end up getting denied treatment, because this will always be the cheapest option."

Life Legal attorneys and Stephanie Packer will be available for questions immediately following the hearing. The hearing will be held at the Riverside County Superior Court at 4050 Main Street, beginning at 8:30am.
 
About Life Legal Defense Foundation
Life Legal Defense Foundation was established in 1989, and is a nonprofit organization composed of attorneys and other concerned citizens committed to giving helpless and innocent human beings of any age, and their advocates, a trained and committed voice in the courtrooms of our nation. For more information about the Life Legal Defense Foundation, visit
www.lldf.org