May 22, 2013 Print

Vermont Gov. Signs Physician-Assisted Suicide Bill into Law

by Bethany Monk

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill into law Monday making it the 3rd state where doctors can legally prescribe lethal doses of medication to help patients kill themselves.

This type of legislation “lays the foundation for deadly acts disguised as ‘care,’” said Americans United for Life President Charmaine Yoest. “Physician-assisted suicide does not affirm the life or dignity of individuals facing serious illness or death. Instead, it opens the door to abuses and dangers for extremely vulnerable individuals.”

Oregon enacted its law in 1994; Washington in 2008. Although it isn’t legal in Montana, a 2009 court ruling provides doctors a potential defense if they give patients the means to kills themselves.

Other attempts to legalize it have failed in New England. Earlier this month, Maine’s Health and Human Services Committee rejected physician-assisted suicide legislation; a similar bill in Connecticut failed to move out of committee earlier this year. Massachusetts voters rejected a ballot measure in 2012.

“America has prided itself in affirming the worth and dignity of the elderly and disabled,” Yoest explained. “This legislation provides incentives for physicians and even family members to pressure vulnerable people into dying for the convenience of others.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about AUL’s life-affirming model legislation, Defending Life.

Read “Physician-Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia.”



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