“In addition to reducing the number of days between requests for assisted suicide, California’s new law also added new requirements for medical professionals. While the law says that no one is “required to participate” in the suicide “for reasons of conscience, morality, or ethics,” Theriot and Cochrane say that is not exactly true.
They argue that the law makes several demands of health-care providers that should be viewed as requiring their participation, including: requiring them to notify patients about the law; requiring them to document a patient’s initial assisted-suicide request, the first step in the suicide process; requiring them to refer patients to another doctor who will help them complete the suicide; and requiring them to transfer records to the new doctor, including the documented verbal request needed to start the assisted-suicide process.
“They object to that just like you would object to signing off on somebody getting a gun to kill themselves. Nobody would hesitate about that,” Theriot said of the documentation requirement. Lawyers for the state say they don’t interpret the law as requiring referrals.
In New Mexico, the law also compels doctors to inform terminally ill patients about the availability of physician-assisted suicide, and forces objecting doctors to refer patients to other providers or organizations who are “able and willing to carry out” the suicide, according to ADF. The law also prohibits professional organizations such as the Christian Medical & Dental Associations from denying membership to doctors who participate in physician-assisted suicide.
Photos above: Left: Gavin Newsom speaks at a campaign stop in San Diego, Calif., November 2, 2018. Right: Michelle Lujan Grisham speaks during a news conference, August 1, 2014. (Mike Blake/Reuters; Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)
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