Speed Reads

court battles

A California court reinstated doctor-assisted suicide for the terminally ill — for now

The Fourth District Court of Appeals on Friday reinstated a controversial law called the End of Life Option, which permits terminally ill patients to commit doctor-assisted suicide.

The law lets patients who have less than six months to live seek medications to end their lives. It was ruled unconstitutional on procedural grounds — it was passed during a legislative session called to address other issues — by a different judge last month.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra cheered the appeals court decision. "This ruling provides some relief to California patients, their families, and doctors who have been living in uncertainty while facing difficult health decisions," he said. Some critics of the law argue it does not adequately distinguish terminal illness, while others argue physician-assisted suicide should not be legal at all.

Opponents of the law now face a July 2 deadline if they wish to challenge the appeals court ruling. The End of Life Option first went into effect in 2016.