San Diego Judge Indicates He Will Dismiss Right-to-Die Lawsuit - NBC Southern California

San Diego Judge Indicates He Will Dismiss Right-to-Die Lawsuit

A bill recently stalled in the state legislature due in large part to opposition from religious organizations

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    SD Judge to Dismiss Right-to-Die Lawsuit

    A judge indicated he will throw out a lawsuit filed by three patients and a doctor claiming that California law authorizes the medical practice of aid in dying. NBC 7's Vanessa Herrera reports. (Published Friday, July 24, 2015)

    A San Diego judge indicated he will throw out a lawsuit filed by three patients and a doctor claiming that California law authorizes the medical practice of aid in dying.

    The hearing Friday was to establish whether the lawsuit filed on behalf of Christy Lynne Donorovich-O’Donnell and Elizabeth Wallner merits a trial.

    O'Donnell, who turned 47 on Friday, is battling lung, brain, spine, rib, and liver cancer. The civil rights attorney and former sergeant in the LAPD, lives in Santa Clarita with her 21-year-old daughter, Bailey.

    In a clip posted to YouTube, O'Donnell said she spends time fearing the pain she's going to endure when she dies.

    "All of that time that my mind spends thinking about that, I am not living," she said.

    San Diego Superior Court Judge Gregory Pollack said it's not the court's decision to change the state constitution and said "maybe legislation should fix this. Not the court."

    He added that he will issue his ruling on Monday and that he expected the ruling to be appealed, according to the Associated Press.

    Wallner, 51, of Sacramento has stage IV colon cancer that has metastasized to her liver and lungs.

    Outside court, she said she was disappointed in the ruling but hoped to see the issue move forward.

    “If we shed some light on it, it actually makes it easier for the patients, easier for the families and a lot less likely for abuse,” said Wallner.

    “The change the plaintiffs seek is something that the legislature needs to address,” said attorney Darin Wessel, who represents the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

    A bill stalled in an Assembly committee earlier this month, due in large part to opposition from religious organizations that say allowing doctors to prescribe life-ending drugs is assisted suicide and goes against God's will.

    The Assembly Health Committee includes multiple Democratic lawmakers from heavily Catholic districts in the Los Angeles area, where the archdiocese actively opposed the legislation.

    The issue garnered national attention when 29-year-old Brittany Maynard moved from California to Oregon to legally end her life following a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer.

    Her mother, Deborah Ziegler, lives in Carlsbad and recently told NBC 7 she is committed more than ever to fight for an individual's right to die.

    O’Donnell’s attorney said they intend to appeal.