California Prohibition Against Assisted Suicide is Constitutional

This article was published by Choice is an Illusion on August 1, 2015.

By Margaret Dore Esq., MBA

Margaret Dore

Margaret Dore

A California trial court has upheld the constitutionality of that state's criminal statute prohibiting assisted suicide, which states:

Every person who deliberately aids, or advises, or encourages another to commit suicide, is guilty of a felony.

Penal Code § 401

The court's reasoning is contained in a 19 page "Ruling on Demurrer," filed on July 24, 2015. The ruling uses the term, "Aid in Dying" to mean physician-assisted suicide. The term also means euthanasia. The court states in part:

Since "Aid in Dying" is quicker and less expensive, there is a much greater potential for its abuse, e.g,, greedy heirs-in-waiting, cost containment strategies, ímpulse decision-making, etc. Moreover, since it can be employed earlier in the dying process, there is a substantial risk that in many cases, it may bring about a patently premature death. For example, consider that a terminally ill patient, not in pain but facing death within the next six months, may opt for “Aid in Dying”' instead of working through what might have been just a transitory period of depression. Further, "Aid in Dying" creates the possible scenario of someone taking his life based upon an erroneous diagnosis of a terminal illness illness, which was, in fact, a mis-diagnosis that could have been brought to light by the passage of time. After all, doctors are not infallible.

Link to the full article