Judge refuses to suspend Calif. law allowing physician-assisted suicide
(Photo: Shuttershock)

A California judge on Friday refused to suspend a new state law allowing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients but allowed a lawsuit challenging the legislation to proceed.

A group of doctors in Riverside, east of Los Angeles, are seeking in a lawsuit to overturn the so-called California End of Life Option, which was passed by the state legislature last year and went into effect in June.

Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel Ottolia declined a request by attorneys for the doctors for a preliminary injunction that would have suspended the law while the lawsuit proceeds in court.

Ottolia also ruled on a request by the state and other supporters of the End of Life Option to dismiss the lawsuit instead. They had argued the doctors lack proper legal standing to bring their case.

"Plaintiffs have patients that fall under the act so the case is not hypothetical," Ottolia said, in denying the request to put aside the lawsuit.

The doctors named as plaintiffs in the legal action were joined by the American Academy of Medical Ethics, also known as the Christian Medical and Dental Society.

(Additional reporting by Steve Gorman, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Tait and Alistair Bell)