Thursday, May 9, 2013

Vermont to Legalize Aid-in-Dying

It is exciting to be in Vermont this week.  I am in Burlington.  But just down the road in Montpelier, the State legislature is poised to become the first in the United States to affirmatively authorize physician aid-in-dying.  (Washington and Oregon were by referendum.  Montana was by court decision and Medical Board rules.)  

I am looking across Lake Champlain into New York.  I am reminded that it was there, 20 years ago, that the case against Timothy Quill began.  Later, in 1997, Quill lost that case when the Supreme Court upheld New York's prohibition of assisted suicide.  Now, with solid data from Oregon and elsewhere, the tide sure seems to be turning - both here, in other states, and in Canada.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, the Vermont bill appears to allow third parties to arrange assisted suicide for the patient, if the patient is unable to do so.

Just as the Patient Self Determination Act of 1991 has been misused and abused for fiscal reasons, assisted suicide laws will be abused, as well, for the gain of interested parties.

Yes! The tide is turning and the elderly and disabled are greatly endangered unless there is some clarification of the right to live and the right to die under the provisions of the 1991 PSDA

All patients are endangered unless there is some state-sponsored neutral body outside of the interested hospital (chain)) who determines the parameters of "medical futility" that makes it possible for hospitals to deny life saving and life extending treatment to patients.