Patient’s Rights Action Fund Statement on Decision in Shavelson Case

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District Court Makes the Right Call

New York, NY – In a statement by Matt Vallière, Executive Director of the Patient’s Rights Action Fund, The Patients’ Rights Action Fund strongly supports the decision of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in its rejection of the plaintiff’s argument to allow for third-party administration of drugs to end a person’s life under the state’s so called “End of Life Options Act.”

The case, Shavelson v. CA Department of Health Care Services, was dismissed by Judge Vince Chhabria who wrote in his decision, “because allowing physicians to help people ingest aid-in-dying medication would fundamentally alter the Act…” Shavelson challenged the requirement in California’s assisted suicide law that patients who choose assisted suicide self-administer the lethal drugs.

“Assisted suicide laws are already highly controversial in the United States. By dismissing the suit, the Court prevents the ongoing ‘mission creep’ of California’s assisted suicide law from becoming a euthanasia statute. Had the legislature thought third-party administration was appropriate, they would have made it part of the law to begin with. The judge understood this, which is why he reached this decision.”


“By allowing the third-party administration of drugs to end someone’s life, all the risks associated with current law would be amplified. If euthanasia as a practice ever becomes established, persons with disabilities will be subject to even more pressure and discrimination to end their lives from tired caregivers, greedy heirs, or outright criminals looking to take advantage of someone to try and get to their assets.”


“Euthanasia is even opposed by leading proponents.”


“We must remain vigilant, however, since plaintiffs could appeal to the 9th Circuit and the judge granted them a right to amend their Complaint on narrow theory. This dangerous case may go through another round of legal challenges.”






The Patients’ Rights Action Fund is a leading national organization dedicated to protecting the rights of patients and individuals with disabilities from the harm of assisted suicide laws. Through supporting coalitions, activists, and patients, PRAF advocates for the right to equal access to end-of life care.

For more information visit: https://patientsrightsaction.org/




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