Terminal cancer patient Christy O'Donnell breaks down after judge refuses right to die. Story at 6 @nbcbayarea pic.twitter.com/b2HlVvOQvH— Mark Matthews (@MarkMatthewsNBC) August 15, 2015
A judge's ruling on Friday upheld California's 141-year old laws that ban physician-assisted suicide.
Christy O’Donnell, who is terminally ill with lung cancer, and her doctor, Robert Brody, were among the plaintiffs in a case that they brought before the San Francisco court. The suit was asking to allow doctors to provide terminally-ill and mentally-competent patients the means to die a peaceful death. However, Judge Ernest Goldsmith decided that the legislature was the appropriate place to decide the law and not his courtroom and upheld the state's laws. "While plaintiffs pose many difficult policy questions worthy of public debate, it is for the Legislature, not this court, to grapple with these important policy issues," California attorney general Kamala Harris wrote in court documents, according to Bay City News.
Outside of the courtroom, O'Donnell was in tears as she spoke with reporters. "I am disappointed, but I want to make clear that my crying does not reflect that I am hopeless because I am not," she said.
One of the concerns of the judge, according to CBS 5, was that terminally ill patients would choose the option to die simply because they could not afford the medical expenses.
Also in court on Friday, supporting O'Donnell according to ABC 7, was Dan Diaz, who was the husband of Brittany Maynard, a Bay Area woman who moved to Oregon so she die of physician-assisted suicide. Oregon is one of the few states with with death with dignity laws.
In January, right-to-die legislation was introduced in Sacramento, but it failed to advance in last month.