A new California law that requires doctors to participate in physician-assisted suicide is being challenged by a coalition of Christian medical professionals who claim it violates their free speech and religious liberty rights.
The law, known as SB 380, was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year and lowers the waiting period for end-of-life drugs from 15 days to 48 hours.
Although the text of the law says physicians who object to assisted suicide “shall not be required to participate,” the law actually requires all doctors to participate at the beginning of the process, according to the suit. That’s because a doctor who opposes the law must still write the date of an individual’s request for end-of-life drugs “in the medical record” and then transfer the record “with documentation” to a “new health care provider or health care entity,” according to the law’s text.
Thus, the law requires all doctors – even ones with religious objections – to start the clock for a patient’s suicide, the suit says.
The suit was filed in federal court on Tuesday on behalf of Christian Medical & Dental Associations and a Christian physician, Leslee Cochrane. They are represented by Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Our clients seek to live out their faith in their medical practice, and that includes valuing every human life entrusted to their care. Participating in, or referring a patient for, physician-assisted suicide very clearly would violate their consciences,” said ADF senior counsel Denise Harle, director of the ADF Center for Life. “No health care professional should be forced to act against their religious beliefs and medical ethics, and the state of California is wrong to enforce such coercion.”