SAN FRANCISCO–A California bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide was denied in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday, August 14.

Several terminally ill patients banded together alongside their doctors to argue for their freedom to “die with dignity” and for an injunction that would protect physicians from prosecution in front of Superior Court Judge Ernest Goldsmith.

The attorney general’s office wrote in court papers that, “California law prohibits assisted suicide without exception. 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.”

Among the plaintiffs were Christie White, 54, who survived two bouts of cancer, and Christy O’Donnell who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

After the court’s decision, O’Donnell was seen crying, but ensured that the public understood the truth behind her tears. She said, “I am disappointed, but I want to make clear that my crying does not reflect that I am hopeless because I am not,” reports ABC7 News.

O’Donnell’s beliefs derive from the Death With Dignity National Center’s (DWDNC) mantra. The website states that, “the greatest human freedom is to live, and die, according to one’s own desires and beliefs. From advance directives to physician-assisted dying, death with dignity is a movement to provide options for the dying to control their own end-of-life care.”

Map of US states that permit physician-assisted suicide
Map of US states that permit physician-assisted suicide

DWDNC’s mission is to fight for laws based on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which went into effect in 1997 and “allows terminally ill Oregon residents to obtain and use prescriptions from their physicians for self-administered, lethal medications”

California’s law against doctor-assisted death dates back 141 years. In January 2015, Senator Wolk and Monning first introduced The End of Life Option Act. Efforts to decriminalize such treatment stalled in the California legislature earlier this year.

Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was a public figure in the right to die movement
Brittany Maynard was a public figure in the right to die movement after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

The Act was introduced only a couple months after the timed-death of terminally ill Bay Area woman, Brittany Maynard who made headlines by choosing to die on her terms. Maynard, 29, moved to Oregon in November to fulfill her wishes and became an advocate of the right to die movement.

Maynard’s husband, Dan Diaz, was in the San Francisco courtroom to support the plaintiffs on August 14.

Currently, Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Montana and Vermont are the only states that allow assisted suicide deaths.