Colorado assisted suicide fight headed back to state court

DENVER — A legal battle over Colorado’s assisted suicide law will be fought in state court, the venue favored by a terminally ill man and a doctor fired for trying to help him end his life.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Babcock said Thursday that he agreed with Centura Health that the case raises important questions about religious freedom protected by the Constitution, but he ruled that other criteria requiring the case to be heard in federal court weren’t met.

It will be sent back to state court in Arapahoe County where Neil Mahoney and his former doctor, Barbara Morris, originally filed it.

Babcock says the religious freedom issues could still be addressed there.

Centura says the state can’t stop a religious organization from disciplining employees who encourage assisted suicide in violations of its beliefs.

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