A California judge on Tuesday overturned the state’s physician-assisted suicide statute, ruling that lawmakers did not have the authority to pass it during a special session convened to take up healthcare legislation.
While the ruling by a Riverside County Superior Court judge was tentative, giving California’s attorney general five days to appeal, it was hailed by opponents as a victory for terminally ill patients.
“The court made it very clear that assisted suicide has nothing to do with increasing access to health care and that hijacking the special session to advance an unrelated agenda is impermissible,” the Life Legal Defense Foundation, which filed the legal challenge, said in a statement.
The organization previously represented a Florida woman, Terry Schiavo, during a high-profile legal battle over her husband’s wish to remove her feeding tube after a 1990 heart attack left her in a coma.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement that his office “strongly disagreed” with the judge’s finding and would seek an expedited appeal.
A spokesman for Compassion & Choices, which describes itself as the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to improving and expanding end-of-life options, said the decision was a blow to California’s terminally ill.
“The people we represent are shocked and are absolutely heartbroken this option has been taken away from them,” spokesman Sean Crowley said.
Compassion & Choices championed the so-called End Of Life Option Act, which was passed during a special legislative session in 2015 and allows people with less than six months to live to seek end-of-life drugs
Kappos said his organization argued that since California Governor Jerry Brown, who convened the session, signed the bill into law it was clear that he considered it appropriate.
A total of seven states – California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington – as well as the District of Columbia have laws on the books legalizing medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients, terminology preferred by advocates to the phrase “physician-assisted suicide.”
Supporters seek to widen legalization of the practice so that patients with incurable diseases can die with less pain and suffering. Opponents argue that unscrupulous caregivers could pressure vulnerable patients to take their own lives.
Oregon was the first to legalize physician-assisted suicide with a statute that took effect in 1998. Since then, some 200 end-of-life prescriptions have been written per year, according to Compassion and Choices, although not all have been used.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Leslie Adler
Trump’s economic advisers baffled over how to hold off recession that his trade war set it in motion: report
According to a report from ABC, Donald Trump's economic advisers are baffled about how to stop what appears to be a recession coming before the 2020 election after his trade war upset an already teetering worldwide economy.
With the report noting that Trump had hoped to run on a strong economy as part of his 2020 re-election strategy, warnings from economists that a recession may arrive before then has White House officials in a panic.
"The financial markets signaled the possibility of a U.S. recession this week, sending a jolt of anxiety to investors, companies and consumers. That's on top of concerns over Trump's plans to impose punishing tariffs on goods from China and word from the United Kingdom and Germany that their economies are shrinking," the report states, adding, "Trump advisers fear a weakened economy would hurt him with moderate Republican and independent voters who have been willing to give him a pass on some his incendiary policies and rhetoric."
Race to remember Berlin Wall victims, 30 years on
Where guard towers and barbed wire once stood, runners pounded the 100-mile (160 kilometer) path along the former Berlin Wall this weekend in a race with victims of the Cold War relic at its heart.
On Saturday at 6:00 am (0400 GMT), around 500 runners, started the 8th edition of the Berlin Wall Race, ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Wall's demise this November.
With weary legs, most runners will jog through Saturday night, aiming to reach the city centre stadium which doubles as both start and finish, in the early hours of Sunday.
The race is part ultra-marathon, part tribute to those who died trying to cross the Wall, which the East German communist regime hastily erected in 1961 and stood for 28 years.
Suspect behind NYC subway bomb scare arrested after being found unconscious in the Bronx: report
On Saturday, CNN's New York correspondent Polo Sandoval reported that a suspect wanted for placing suspicious rice cookers in New York City subway stations has been arrested after being found unconscious at an address in the Bronx.
"Less than 24 hours it took the NYPD to track down this man in relation to the scare that took place here in New York City," said Sandoval. "A source close to the investigation saying that the individual that they were trying to track down to speak to was apparently placed into custody at about 2AM This morning. He was found unconscious in the Bronx here in New York. He is currently hospitalized."