At Veterans’ Homes, Aid-in-Dying Isn’t an Option

Facilities in four states claim they’ll risk losing federal funding if they allow assisted suicide.

The Atlantic

Jonel Aleccia

The state of California passed a law three years ago that allows terminally ill people to take lethal drugs to end their lives, but controversy is growing over a newer rule that effectively bans that option in the state’s eight veterans’ homes.

Proponents of medical aid-in-dying and residents of the Veterans Home of California at Yountville – the largest in the nation – are protesting a regulation passed in 2016 by the California Department of Veterans Affairs, or CalVet, that requires that anyone living in the facilities must be discharged if they intend to use the law.

That’s a position shared by most – but not all – states where aid-in-dying is allowed. As more U.S. jurisdictions consider whether to legalize the practice, the status of terminally ill veterans living in state-run homes will loom large . . . [Full Text]

There’s an unseen benefit to California’s physician-assisted death law

LA Times

Soumya Karlamangla

Some doctors in California felt uncomfortable last year when a new law began allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal medicines, saying their careers had been dedicated to saving lives, not ending them.

Many healthcare systems designed protocols for screening people who say they’re interested in physician-assisted death, including some that were meant to dissuade patients from taking up the option.

But physicians across the state say the conversations that health workers are having with patients are leading to patients’ fears and needs around dying being addressed better than ever before. They say the law has improved medical care for sick patients, even those who don’t take advantage of it.

“One doctor said we should be able to order the End of Life Option Act without the drugs,” said Dr. Neil Wenger, director of the UCLA Health Ethics Center. “It really has created a new standard for how we ought to be helping people at the end of life.” . . . [Full text]


California Hospital Sued for Refusing to Assist in Suicide

National Review

Wesley J. Smith

This lawsuit is a little before its time.

Should assisted suicide become widely accepted in this country, activists will try to force all doctors to participate–either by doing the deed or referring to a doctor known to be willing to lethally prescribe.

But it isn’t yet, and so the pretense of the movement that they only want an itsy-bitsy, teensy-weensy change in mores and law continues as SOP.

But sometimes they show their true intentions. Thus, when UCSF oncologists refused to assist a cancer patient’s suicide, the woman died of her disease. Now, her family is suing–using the same attorney (Kathryn Tucker) who tried (unsuccessfully) to obtain an assisted suicide Roe v Wade in 1997 and has brought other pro-assisted sucide cases around the country. . . [Full text]

Health indignity: A Carmichael hospital denied a trans man his hysterectomy. Now he’s suing.

Dignity Health moves patient’s surgery to another hospital over Catholic directives

Dave Kempa

Two days before Evan Minton’s scheduled hysterectomy last September at Dignity Health Mercy San Juan Medical Center, a nurse called to discuss pre- and post-operation care. Toward the end of the call, Minton had a request.

“‘I just want to let you know that I’m transgender and my pronouns mean a great deal to me,'” he recalled saying.

According to Minton, the nurse was affirming. He hung up with a positive feeling. But the next day his doctor called with bad news. The hospital had canceled the procedure. He was terrified that the cancellation would add months or years to his physical transition.

Now, seven months later, the 35-year-old is teaming up with the American Civil Liberties Union to sue Dignity Health for denying care to a transgender patient. . . [Full text]


Woman Who Identifies as Man Sues Catholic Hospital for Disallowing Uterus Removal at Facility

Christian News

Heather Clark

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — A California woman who identifies as a man has filed a lawsuit against a Catholic hospital and its parent company for prohibiting her surgeon from performing a sex change-related hysterectomy at the facility because of the organization’s religious convictions.

The 35-year-old woman, who goes by the name Evan Minton, had been scheduled to undergo a complete hysterectomy at Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael last August. She believed the procedure was necessary to comport with her preferred identity.

However, the day before her appointment, after she noted to a nurse that she identifies as “transgender,” the surgery was canceled.

“In general, it is our practice not to provide sterilization services at Dignity Health’s Catholic facilities,” said spokeswoman Melissa Jue in a statement at the time. . . [Full text]

Freedom of Conscience for Healthcare Professionals Upheld in Illinois, Trampled in California

Alliance Defending Freedom Blog

Sarah Kramer

In a dazzling display of government overreach, the states of Illinois and California have demanded that pro-life healthcare professionals promote abortion – the very thing they have dedicated their careers to preventing.

Thankfully, an Illinois state court acknowledged this problem when it ruled that pro-life healthcare professionals and pregnancy centers in Illinois cannot be forced to refer for abortions or to tell pregnant women that abortion has “benefits” and is a “treatment option” for pregnancy.

Unfortunately, healthcare professionals in California were denied the same freedom, when a federal court refused to rehear the case after ruling to uphold a California law last year. . . .For our clients, being forced to promote abortion is absolutely unthinkable. . . [Full text]



Will hospitals reject California’s assisted suicide law?

Los Angeles Times

David Lazarus

Medical leaders at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena voted behind closed doors this week for the facility’s hundreds of doctors and affiliated personnel to opt out of California’s assisted suicide law, which goes into effect June 9.

If the proposed amendment to the hospital’s medical rules is approved by the board of directors this month, Huntington will become one of the largest non-religious medical institutions statewide to turn its back on a law that Gov. Jerry Brown called “a comfort” to anyone “dying in prolonged and excruciating pain.”

The End of Life Option Act allows doctors, medical groups and hospitals to opt out of the law’s guidelines for assisting the terminally ill achieve a dignified end. Most, if not all, religious hospitals are expected to reject the law.

It’s unclear at this point if Huntington is an outlier among secular facilities or representative of a wave of opt-outs to be revealed by month’s end. The California Hospital Assn. was unable to provide an estimate for the number of institutions considering a similar move. . . [Full Text]


California refuses reparation to victims of forced sterilization

The government and state politicians in California admit that the forced sterilization of about 20,000 citizens between 1909 and 1963 should not have happened.  The sterilizations were part of a state eugenics programme designed to prevent those identified as “feeble minded” or “defective” from having children.  However, they are unwilling to authorize compensation or reparation for the victims. [CNN]


Nurse dismissed over ‘morning after pill’

The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, today filed suit in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California on behalf of a health care worker charging that she was fired from her job as a nurse for Riverside County, California after she refused to dispense medication known as a “morning-after” pill designed to end pregnancies. See the ACLJ news release for details.


ACLJ files religious discrimination suit against Ca. health agency over “morning after” pill

News Release

American Center for Law and Justice

(Riverside, CA) – The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, today filed suit in U.S. District Court in Riverside, California on behalf of a health care worker charging that she was fired from her job as a nurse for Riverside County, California after she refused to dispense medication known as a “morning-after” pill designed to end  pregnancies.

“This case centers on the rights of our  client to hold religious beliefs and have those beliefs accommodated by her  employer,” said Frank Manion, Senior Regional Counsel of the ACLJ who is representing the nurse. “Our client did not want to dispense medication that she believes places her in a position to participate in an abortion. It is our position that her deeply held religious beliefs were ignored by her employer and it is our belief that she was wrongly fired because of those beliefs.”

The ACLJ filed suit today in U.S. District Court in Riverside on behalf of Michelle Diaz, who worked as a Clinic Health Nurse at the Riverside Neighborhood Health Center. The complaint contends that in March 1999, Diaz and other health professionals expressed their concerns to management about dispensing the so-called “morning-after” pill – medication designed to end pregnancies.  The lawsuit states that Diaz told her supervisor that her deeply held religious beliefs prevented her from distributing the medication because she believed she would be participating in an abortion.

The complaint contends that the Director of Public Health for Riverside County informed her that if she did not sign a document that required her to dispense what the county called “emergency contraception” which included the “morning-after” pill and other pregnancy-ending medications, she  would no longer be able to work at the clinic. Diaz did not sign the document and wrote a letter to the Director of Public Health explaining that her religious beliefs prevented her from doing so.

According to the suit, in June 1999, Diaz was contacted by news reporters concerning the “morning-after” pill controversy and explained her position to the media. The suit contends that on June 23, 1999 – just days after speaking with the media – she was told that she was being terminated.

“This case may represent a new kind of religious discrimination in the workplace as health care professionals strive to follow their consciences as they begin dispensing new pregnancy-ending drugs like RU-486,” said Manion. “A person’s religious beliefs must be respected and accommodated in the workplace. To do anything less is simply wrong and unconstitutional.”

The lawsuit contends that the action taken against Diaz violated the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution along with provisions in the California Constitution. The complaint contends the County violated her constitutional rights of free speech and violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to accommodate her religious beliefs and terminating her employment.

At the same time, the suit contends that Diaz has suffered and continues to suffer financial loss from the termination and damage to her  professional reputation. The suit requests that the court find the actions of the defendants illegal and unconstitutional and requests unspecified damages. The suit also requests a trial by jury.

The suit names as defendants the County of Riverside Health Services Agency, Kenneth Cohen, the Director of the Agency, and Dr. Gary Feldman, who serves as Director of Public Health and as the Public Health Officer for Riverside County.

The ACLJ is being assisted in this case by Robert Tyler of the firm, Tyler, Dorsa & Eldridge in Temecula, CA.

The American Center for Law and Justice is an  international public interest law firm that specializes in constitutional law and focuses on pro-life, pro-family, and pro-liberty issues. The ACLJ is headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA.