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Posted on September 19, 2020 at 4:00 AM

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has rejected a constitutional challenge to the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA). The court did not reach the merits, but decided the case on standing.

After a long series of court challenges in various California state courts, the family of Israel Stinson and some pro-life advocacy organizations filed a federal lawsuit seeking both (1) an injunction changing the date of death listed on Israel’s death certificate and (2) a declaration that California’s UDDA is unconstitutional.

The court affirmed dismissal because the family failed to articulate how they would be affected by the outcome of the case. The organizations failed to show that without CUDDA, “doctors in California would be less likely to declare death after determining brain death.” Since brain death was accepted as legal death in California years before the UDDA, “doctors may make exactly the same medical decisions regarding the definition of death” without the UDDA.

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