BREAKING: Vermont Becomes The First State To Allow Assisted Suicide To People From Out-Of-State

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Vermont just removed its residency requirement for assisted suicide on Tuesday, officially opening it up for any American to travel to the state to end their life.

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Nine other states already allow the practice of assisted suicide, but Vermont is the first to change its law to strip the residency requirement. Oregon also allows assisted suicide and agreed recently to stop enforcing the residency requirement as part of a settlement to a lawsuit that alleged that the requirement is unconstitutional. Advocates of assisted suicide think it is discriminatory. 

National Review reported:

Vermont had a similar process to Oregon’s. In March, before the Vermont legislature and Republican governor Phil Scott acted in concert to change the law, the state had come to a settlement with a Connecticut woman dying of cancer. She would be the first non-Vermonter to be able to take advantage of Vermont’s assisted suicide law provided she complied with other aspects of the law.

“I was so relieved to hear of the settlement of my case that will allow me to decide when cancer has taken all from me that I can bear,” said Linda Bluestein, 75, to the Associated Press. Bluestein is dying of fallopian tube cancer.

Critics have dubbed the practice of allowing non-residents to end their lives suicide, or death, tourism. Carolyn McDonnell, litigation counsel for Americans United for Life, argued in a Newsweek op-ed that the repercussions of these laws may be disastrous further down the road.

Since the decriminalization of assisted suicide increases the rates of non-assisted suicide, suicide tourism will undercut national suicide prevention policies,” explained McDonnell.

She added that she expects medical professionals will have limited ability to conscientiously object to participating in assisted suicide in the future and that “death on demand: will ultimately be promoted for very vulnerable patients.

“Assisted suicide is ageist, ableist, and an attack on human dignity. Society must push back against the assisted suicide lobby’s goal of death on demand, which is rife with abuse and discrimination. We owe everyone suicide prevention, not abandonment,” McDonnell wrote.

Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices, a pro-assisted suicide organization Argued that borders shouldn’t determine whether you die peacefully or in pain.

“Patients routinely travel to other states to utilize the best healthcare options. There is no rational reason they shouldn’t be able to travel to another state to access medical aid in dying if the state they live in doesn’t offer it,” Callinan explained.

Bluestein, the woman who is dying of cancer, said she expects more people in the Northeast will be able to take advantage of the law.

“I’m thinking even more importantly that this is going to cause other states, the other jurisdictions that have medical aid in dying, to look at their residency requirement, too,” Bluestein explained.

Newsweek also shared:

For nearly 30 years, the United States has been grappling with states’ decriminalization of physician-assisted suicide. Oregon was the first state to allow the practice through a referendum in 1994 (codified into law in 1997). Since then, nine additional jurisdictions—California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington—have passed legislation that permits assisted suicide. One state, Montana, was forced to adopt it by judicial activism, when the state’s supreme court devised a “consent” defense to homicide charges for physician-assisted suicide.

Yet decriminalization is not enough for the assisted suicide lobby. It is now pushing to remove even the few “safeguards” currently in place to protect patients from coercion and abuse. California dropped its reflection period from 15 days to a mere 48 hours, severely limiting a safeguard that ensures a patient takes the time to understand the severity of assisted suicide. Vermont allows telemedical assisted suicides without requiring the prescribing doctor to medically evaluate the patient in person. Oregon and Vermont have settled lawsuits that permitted suicide tourism. Since the decriminalization of assisted suicide increases the rates of non-assisted suicide, suicide tourism will undercut national suicide prevention policies.

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