Vermont becomes third US state to legalize assisted suicide

May 20, 2013

Vermont became on Monday the third US state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Peter Shumlin, the Democratic Governor of the small progressive-leaning state, signed into law a bill that adopted last week. Vermont follows the states of Oregon and Washington in legalizing the practice.

"Vermonters facing at the end of their lives now have control over their own destinies," Shumlin said, at a ceremony at the Capitol in Montpelier.

Vermont, a mostly rural state in New England, is the first US state to adopt physician-assisted suicide by legislative process rather than through a voter-initiated referendum.

Under the Vermont law, terminally ill patients who are given no more than six months to live can ask their doctors to prescribe a of drugs to hasten their death.

Several are built into the law. These include a requirement for two medical opinions, the option of a psychiatric examination and a 17-day waiting period before a life-ending prescription can be filled.

In 2009, Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages. It now has been approved in 12 US states.

But it also has one of the fastest-aging populations in the United States. By 2030, one in four Vermonters will be 65 years of age or older, according to University of Vermont economist Art Woolf.

A poll found that 84 percent of Americans support allowing a terminally ill adult patient to decide if they want to be kept alive.

Explore further: Vermont House passes aid-in-dying bill

Related Stories

Vermont House passes aid-in-dying bill

May 14, 2013
The Vermont House has approved a measure that would allow doctors to provide lethal medication to terminally ill patients seeking to end their own lives.

Assisted suicide on agenda in several US states (Update)

February 8, 2013
(AP)—A push for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide is under way in a half-dozen U.S. states where proponents say they see strong support for allowing doctors to prescribe mentally competent, dying individuals ...

Vt. is first state to post health insurance rates (Update)

April 1, 2013
(AP)—Vermont has become the first state to let people without health insurance see how much they would pay to get coverage through the federal health overhaul beginning next year.

EU court finds Swiss assisted-suicide laws vague (Update)

May 14, 2013
An elderly Swiss woman who would rather end her life now than decline further in health found sympathy Tuesday from the European Court of Human Rights, which called on the Swiss to clarify their laws on so-called passive ...

Oregon lawmakers advance teen tanning ban

March 7, 2013
(AP)—Oregon lawmakers have advanced a bill that would ban minors from using indoor tanning beds.

UK experts: Assisted suicide legally possible

January 5, 2012
An independent panel of experts in the U.K. says there is a strong case for changing British law to help terminally ill people die.

Recommended for you

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

Best of Last Year – The top Medical Xpress articles of 2016

December 23, 2016
(Medical Xpress)—It was a big year for research involving overall health issues, starting with a team led by researchers at the UNC School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health who unearthed more evidence that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.