Groundbreaking legislation legalizing physician-assisted suicide recently passed both branches of the Vermont State Congress.
The bill, entitled, “The Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act,”¯ will automatically go into effect, once Vermont governor, Peter Shumlin, signs on the dotted line. His signature would officially make Vermont the first state to approve such a law through the legislative process. Oregon and Washington have had similar legislation for years; however, both of their laws were passed via public referendum.
Physician-assisted suicide (also dubbed, “death-with-dignity”) laws allow doctors to legally prescribe lethal prescription drugs to people with are near death. These rulings also provide protection for friends and family members who support a dying individual’s choice.
For more than a decade the Vermont’s version of a death-with-dignity law has been under construction; traveling back and forth between the state’s House and Senate several times and undergoing multiple revisions.
The final iteration of the bill closely mirrors the one passed in Oregon over 15 years ago. Here are a few of the key provisions in Vermont’s bill:
A person applying for a deadly dose of medication must:
- Have a terminal illness with a prognosis of six months or less
- Undergo a complete examination of their current and past health status
- Be deemed capable of making a decision
- Be able to take the medication themselves
Also included in the bill are specific protections for anyone who is present when a terminally ill individual consumes doctor-prescribed life-ending medication.
Continue reading to discover interesting statistics on the individuals who opt for physician-assisted suicide, and why they are choosing to end their lives early…
Vermont Passes Landmark Legislation Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide originally appeared on AgingCare.com.