Executive director of the California Catholic Conference issues statement on courts continuing to rule against End-of-Life Options Act

The following statement was issued May 25 by Edward ‘Ned” Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, on the Fourth District Court of Appeal denying the California Attorney General’s request for an immediate stay of the ruling that determined the physician-assisted suicide law to be unconstitutional.

“We are very grateful and encouraged that California courts continue to find the law legalizing physician-assisted suicide unconstitutional. We realize there are many steps in the legal process still to go, but rulings seem to be accumulating against this terrible piece of legislation..

“As we have said previously, a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, seniors and the disabled community, fought against legalization and the shattering of the physician-patient bond of trust it represents. The California Catholic Conference and our partners continue to advocate for high quality, widely available end-of-life care for all people.

“For instance, California is yet to provide palliative care to all Medi-Cal recipients but California lawmakers have approved funds for lethal prescriptions.  In a January 2018 hearing, legislators openly spoke of the potential to expand physician-assisted suicide to minorities and other vulnerable populations.  They also spoke of ways to begin dismantling the few “protections” written in the law. The message sent by that hearing to vulnerable populations is chilling and frightening.”

The following statement was issued May 16 by Edward ‘Ned” Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, on the ruling by a Riverside Superior Court judge that the End-of-Life Options Act is unconstitutional.

“We are encouraged by yesterday’s ruling by a Superior Court judge in Riverside County overturning the state’s assisted suicide law. Our opposition to assisted suicide is no secret, but this legislation was also opposed by a broad coalition of doctors, nurses, seniors and the disabled community, who fought this bill for many, many reasons.

“Health care professionals were shocked at the cynicism and questioned why the state was embracing doctor-assisted suicide as the standard of care for people who needed respect and support. Others were offended at the way Medi-Cal patients - often refused coverage for palliative care – were offered coverage for lethal prescriptions instead.

“Still others were truly disturbed by the lack of safeguards to prevent seniors and the disabled from being railroaded into assisted suicide. At an oversight hearing in January to review the implementation of the End-of-Life Option Act, even though presented with clear evidence of poor data collection and other implementation uncertainties, legislators openly discussed ways that physician-assisted suicide could be expanded – especially to poor and minority communities.

“This was a bad law.  We hope the court’s ruling is sustained. If this issue comes before the Legislature again, we hope they address the real issue in front of them—how do we protect the dignity and quality of life of those among us facing a serious or terminal illness, and how do we help our loved ones feel love and support as they contemplate the end of their life.​”