Amicus; submitted February 9, 2023

In an amicus brief* submitted to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Compassion & Choices (C&C) argued that the State should be allowed to make reasonable laws requiring healthcare providers to give people neutral and truthful information regarding their healthcare options, including end-of-life options. The case, McDonald v. Lawson, concerns a California regulation, AB 2098, that states it is unprofessional conduct for a physician or surgeon to disseminate misinformation or disinformation related to COVID-19 when treating a patient. The case is being challenged by two doctors who argue that the State’s attempt to limit disinformation about COVID-19 violates their First Amendment rights of free speech.

While C&C submitted a neutral amicus and did not take a position in McDonald for or against plaintiffs, we weighed in because a ruling in McDonald could impair a state’s ability to pass laws that ensure patients are receiving quality care consistent with their fully informed treatment decisions. Specifically, C&C is concerned that a decision in this case could limit end-of-life disclosure requirements in long-term care facilities and hospices, or provisions in medical aid-in-dying laws that require both participating and non-participating physicians alike to provide patients with truthful information and a complete and accurate medical record. 

Compassion & Choices is committed to ensuring patients have access to quality care and the full range of options at the end-of-life. To learn more about our legal advocacy work, please visit our Legal Advocacy webpage.

*Amicus curiae is Latin for “friend of the court.” Amicus briefs are commonly submitted by anyone wanting to make a point relating to a court case that the litigating parties are not addressing.