No People Have Used Vermont’s Assisted Suicide Law to Kill Themselves Since it Passed

State   |   Mary Beerworth   |   May 19, 2014   |   6:53PM   |   Montpelier, VT

Vermonters concerned about being pressured into ingesting lethal drugs are being encouraged by VRLC to sign durable power of attorney documents expressing a wish not to die by assisted suicide and euthanasia.

It has been a full year since doctor-prescribed suicide was legalized, yet no one in Vermont has died after taking a lethal dose. Compassion and Choices, the Colorado- based euthanasia organization that heavily funded the push for legalizing assisted suicide in Vermont in 2013 (see here), is now setting up a network that offers “expert patient counseling and referral, bedside volunteer support, and medical provider education.” (see here)

picassistedsuicide3Now that a well-funded push is on to find people to use the new law, it is more important than ever for Vermonters to sign the new advance directive document developed specifically for Vermont. The Vermont Protective Medical Decisions Document contains provisions for those who wish to try to protect themselves and their loved ones from euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Physicians who promote doctor-prescribed suicide can and may influence a patient’s “choice” to commit suicide by presenting a lethal dose as an option that is equal to life-extending treatment, comfort care, and excellent palliative care. If a lethal dose is offered to terminally ill patients, especially when such patients are experiencing depression, chances are increased that such patients will feel pressure, subtle or not, to end their own lives.

The Vermont Protective Medical Decisions Document (VT PMDD), is a durable power of attorney produced by the legal team at the Patients Rights Council. The VT PMMD specifically states that the signer does not wish to have his or her life ended by “assisted suicide or euthanasia” and adds an important additional provision stating that the signer does not wish to be treated by “any health care provider who prescribes, provides, or promotes doctor-prescribed suicide unless emergency treatment is necessary and no other health care provider can be found.”

VRLC has mailed over 100 VT PMDD documents to concerned Vermonters.

LifeNews Note: Mary Beerworth is the director of Vermont Right to Life.