Lawsuit seeks to exempt California physicians from assisted suicide law

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A group of cancer patients and doctors has filed a lawsuit seeking to exempt physicians who help terminally ill patients end their lives from California's ban on assisted suicide.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court says physicians who provide such assistance are not helping the patient commit suicide but instead giving them the option of bringing about a peaceful death.

The plaintiffs cite the case of Brittany Maynard -- a young California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life with the help of doctors.

Maynard's family is not involved in the suit.

Opponents say prescribing life-ending medication violates a doctor's oath to do no harm. They also fear some sick patients would feel pressured to end their lives.