Next Wednesday, the Vermont legislature is set to debate bills that allow mortally-ill patients to request a lethal drug with the help of a doctor, and administer it to themselves. The legislation is supported by the new Democratic governor Peter Shumlin.
If the legislation passes, there will be lots rules for taking your own life in Vermont.
From Dave Gram’s report on the legislation in the Boston Globe:
The legislation would allow doctors to prescribe for patients, who had requested it three times — once in writing — a lethal dose of pills that the patient would then administer to himself or herself.
The patient must be at least 18, must be of sound mind, must orally state a desire to die at least twice and at least two weeks apart. The written request must be witnessed by two people who are not close relatives, would not benefit financially from the person’s death, and who are not affiliated with the facility where the person is receiving care.
Predictably this is a big debate. Advocates of the bill say that people deserve a right to control the moment they die.
Others represented by Vermont Right to Life and Vermont Coalition for Disability Rights argue that the bill will lead to pressuring patients to take their own life rather then continue receiving care, and that the practice will erode the taboo against euthanasia.
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