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Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

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Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?

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…

Related
How to Respond When a Loved One Says: “I Just Want to Die”
How to Talk About End-of-Life Issues With an Aging Loved One
How to Help an Elder Who is Afraid to Die

Vermont Passes Landmark Legislation Legalizing Physician-Assisted Suicide originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

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By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com Editor

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193 comments

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8:46PM PDT on May 26, 2013

noted

9:41AM PDT on May 24, 2013

Yes.

12:44AM PDT on May 24, 2013

You should have the right to choose the way your life should end if it is due to medical conditions, no one should suffer.

8:43PM PDT on May 23, 2013

I live in Wa state. We have assisted suicide here too.
I knew one of the people in Oregon who chose death by dignity.
I agree with the death by dignity act. It is not for me, or anyone else to judge another or bear false witness because of their own opinion. We simply don't know another person experience.
I also believe, the laws should not set a certain time frame on if someone chooses to end their own life. When someone is ready, they are ready. They know when they can cope and when they can't any longer.
And I am not so sure it should always be about being terminally ill either. There are many diseases and disorders out there that ruin quality of life and make being alive unbearable. IF a person, who is ill, is in their natural state, without expensive meds or others to care for them, would they still be alive? Or what about the meds? I have known so many people who have died due to their meds or gotten terminal illnesses from their meds on top of it.
But Hey! As long as they didn't Choose It, i guess its okay that they died and in some cases from doc prescribed meds. *shrug*
If people have a 'choice' those who disagree and would rather wait their time out have a choice too.
Just a few of my thoughts anyway....

8:43PM PDT on May 23, 2013

I live in Wa state. We have assisted suicide here too.
I knew one of the people in Oregon who chose death by dignity.
I agree with the death by dignity act. It is not for me, or anyone else to judge another or bear false witness because of their own opinion. We simply don't know another person experience.
I also believe, the laws should not set a certain time frame on if someone chooses to end their own life. When someone is ready, they are ready. They know when they can cope and when they can't any longer.
And I am not so sure it should always be about being terminally ill either. There are many diseases and disorders out there that ruin quality of life and make being alive unbearable. IF a person, who is ill, is in their natural state, without expensive meds or others to care for them, would they still be alive? Or what about the meds? I have known so many people who have died due to their meds or gotten terminal illnesses from their meds on top of it.
But Hey! As long as they didn't Choose It, i guess its okay that they died and in some cases from doc prescribed meds. *shrug*
If people have a 'choice' those who disagree and would rather wait their time out have a choice too.
Just a few of my thoughts anyway....

7:21PM PDT on May 22, 2013

Yes, by all means, physician-assisted suicide should be legalized, but, with strict conditions, in order to protect the patient and the doctor.
No one, can live in another person's shoes, and experience what that person's experiences. A person intent on taking their own life, deserves to undergo this procedure without pain, or harming themselves further.

6:27PM PDT on May 21, 2013

My question is: What about people who want to die who aren't elderly or terminally ill? Or does the fact that you want to die contravene the "being of sound mind" clause?

6:05PM PDT on May 21, 2013

If I ever get to that position, I would hope I would have the choice to end my life as I see fit.

5:19PM PDT on May 21, 2013

I believe a person has a right to decide to die and how they die forced into that decision.

5:13PM PDT on May 21, 2013

It certainly should.
People with terminal illnesses should be allowed to choose for themselves. The fact that people still die slowly and in great pain because of someone else's moral scruples is barbaric.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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