By: Max Escajadillo
Vermont becomes the fourth state to legalize assisted suicide as Governor Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law which would allow physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
This law would allow patients who are over 18 and are suffering from terminal illness or any incurable disease to acquire a prescription of lethal drugs from their physician. The law requires two physicians to make the final decision of whether a patient qualifies for assisted suicide and the patients must also make an initial oral request 15 days before acquiring the lethal drugs and an oral or written request to die 48 hour before receiving them and also two individuals, who are not related to the patient or the healthcare providers, must also witness the requests of the patient. The law went into effect immediately in the state of Vermont and guidelines will be created by officials for doctors who plan to assist suicide to their patients.
Meanwhile the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, a group that was opposing the law, is now focusing on helping healthcare providers find ways to help the terminal ill patients find options other than assisted suicide.
Assisted suicide has been passed in states like Oregon and Washington by the general elections method and Montana allowed physicians to aid their patients in assisted suicide only if they are on their deathbeds. Supporters from other states hope this law will influence other states to pass assisted suicide law.