Christian doctors in California cannot be forced into taking part in assisted suicide, the court decided.

A Court Has Ruled That California Cannot Actually force Christian Physicians to Aid in Suicide

On Friday, a federal district judge ruled in favor of a group of Christian doctors who had challenged the new physician-assisted suicide law in their state.

The controversial bill at hand is SB 380, which was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom last year and reduces the waiting period for medications used to end life from 15 days to 48 hours.

Despite the fact that doctors “shall not be forced to participate,” the law nevertheless mandates that those who choose not to do so “record the individual’s date of request” for lethal medication. To give someone 48 hours to change their mind about suicide, they must take that first step.

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The Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA) filed suit against the state, claiming that the statute compelled its members to take part in something they strongly disapproved of on moral grounds. According to the lawsuit, more than 90% of CMDA members “would rather discontinue practicing medicine than be forced to participate in assisted suicide or other practices in violation of their consciences.” A CMDA associate, Leslee Cochrane, has signed on to the lawsuit.

Friday, Judge Fernando L. Aenlle-Rocha ruled in favor of CMDA and Cochrane, saying that the measure most certainly violates their First Amendment rights. An injunction imposed by Aenlle-Rocha prevents the state of California from carrying out the challenged provision of its law.

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Plaintiffs “have indicated they are likely to suffer a breach of a constitutional right without an injunction,” Aenlle-Rocha concluded.

Christian Medical and Dental Associations and Cochrane are being represented in court by Alliance Defending Freedom.

“Our customers are committed to putting their faith into practice via their medical work, and they view each patient as an individual whose life is in their hands. According to ADF senior lawyer Kevin Theriot, “participating in physician-assisted suicide would very clearly offend their consciences.” We’re relieved the court upheld the Supreme Court’s 2018 ruling in NIFLA v. Becerra, which made clear that medical professionals of all faiths are protected by the First Amendment.

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CMDA v. Bonta is the legal name of the conflict.

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