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California to pay $300K for coercing religious doctors into assisting with suicides

Following the settlement of a lawsuit filed by a Christian physician and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA), the state of California has agreed to cease compelling doctors to engage in physician-assisted suicide, that contradicts their religious beliefs and professional ethics. Under the terms of the settlement, California state officials have agreed to refrain from enforcing any form of criminal or civil punishment, including professional disciplinary measures or licensing sanctions, against California-licensed physicians who refuse or fail to serve a request, refer, or provide assistance to patients seeking to end their lives. Additionally, the state will cover attorneys’ fees and legal costs amounting to $300,000.

CBN News reports:

The state of California will no longer force doctors to participate in physician-assisted suicide against their religious convictions and professional ethics after settling a lawsuit brought by a Christian physician and the Christian Medical & Dental Associations(CMDA).

As part of the settlement, California state officials agreed not to enforce “any criminal or civil punishment, including professional discipline or licensing sanction for a California-licensed physician’s refusal or failure to” document a request, refer, or assist a patient in any way with ending his or her life. The state will also pay $300,000 for attorneys’ fees and legal costs.

As CBN News reported in February of 2022, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) a religious rights law firm, representing Dr. Leslee Cochrane, M.D., and the CMDA filed their lawsuit, Christian Medical & Dental Associations v. Bonta, against the state.

California first legalized physician-assisted suicide in 2015 with the passage of the controversial End of Life Option Act or SB 380. It was signed into law by then-Governor Jerry Brown (D). The law allows an adult diagnosed with a terminal disease, who meets certain qualifications, to request aid-in-dying drugs from their attending physician.

According to court documents, 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 to force conscientious physicians to participate in the process.

Read the full article here. 

Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash

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