If there is one aspect of American life that we have all become accustomed to, it is living within the parameters of others’ moral boundaries, whether or not we all agree with them. From pot prohibition to gay marriage to abortion, etc., every person has had to learn to live within the limits of what works for others. When it comes to California’s End of Life Option Act, which went into effect in June 2016 and whereby terminally ill patients with six months to live can request a lethal prescription from their doctors, the judgment continues.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Daniel A. Ottolia ruled last week that the End of Life Option Act was passed during a special session on health care even though Ottolia stated that the law isn’t about health care, that it is unconstitutional and should be overturned. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, however, filed an appeal on Monday, May 21, to reverse Ottolia’s decision and put a stay on the ruling to allow the law to remain in effect. The result of the request for the stay had not been decided by deadline, May 22.
The wording in Becerra’s appeal addressed the law’s association to health care, which seems to be rather obvious but apparently didn’t meet the criteria for Ottolia:
“The enactment fell within the scope of the special session called, in part, to consider efforts to ‘improve the efficiency and efficacy of the health care system … and improve the health of Californians. As the Governor indicated, the Act deals with pain, suffering, and the comfort of having the health care options afforded by the Act.”
The Life Legal Defense Foundation was one of the plaintiffs that filed the lawsuit to overturn the End of Life Option Act. The organization staunchly supports advocates for pro-life and anti-abortion efforts. It is one thing to defend a being that cannot speak for itself, another to do so for a coherent adult who is suffering and whose death is imminent. When it comes to the End of Life Option Act, quality of life seems to be a nonissue for organizations such as Life Legal effectively forcing people to live until they die no matter the suffering and pain. The sheer fact that a person may have used life-saving drugs to prevent natural death from disease and now wants to die when those drugs are no longer effective speaks to a certain hypocrisy when it comes to overturning physician-assisted suicide.
It’s an unfortunate situation if we as a society cannot allow the individual to speak and act on his or her own behalf. Instead, there seems to be a strong compulsion in certain people to control other people and their personal choices. We wonder if there would be a better use of time and energy for people who spend their whole lives trying to force different moral compasses into individual minds. Perhaps instead of trying to limit and take away rights and privileges of Americans, they can spend more time trying to understand the people who value and treasure laws like the End of Life Option Act. And if there is no compromise or understanding, maybe it’s time to find a new path that enhances the quality of life for all beings. Isn’t that what life should be all about anyway?