Vermont’s Republican governor approves assisted suicide for nonresidents

Vermont has passed legislation that will open its assisted suicide program to nonresidents within the state. Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill on Tuesday that removes residency requirements for medically assisted suicide in Vermont. “We are grateful to Vermont lawmakers for recognizing that a state border shouldn’t determine if you die peacefully or in agony,” Kim Callinan, president and CEO of the nonprofit Compassion & Choices, told The Associated Press.  VERMONT ADVANCES BILL ALLOWING ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR NONCITIZENS She continued, “Patients routinely travel to other states to utilize the best health care options. There is no rational reason they shouldn’t be able to travel to another state to access medical aid in dying if the state they live in doesn’t offer it.” The decision comes after a Connecticut woman, Lynda Bluestein, reached a court settlement with Vermont that would allow her to be the first out-of-state patient to be euthanized by the state’s medical system.  Bluestein, 75, has terminal cancer and is seeking to end her life before her natural death. She launched a legal challenge against the state of Vermont’s residency requirement, successfully arguing that it violates the .U.S Constitution’s commerce, equal protection, and privileges and immunities clauses. CANADIAN PANEL PUSHES ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR MINORS WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT “I was so relieved to hear of the settlement of my case that will allow me to decide when cancer has taken all from me that I can bear,” said Bluestein.  She continued, “The importance of the peace of mind knowing that I will now face fewer obstacles in accessing the autonomy, control, and choice in this private, sacred and very personal decision about the end of my life is enormous.” Vermont is one of only 10 states in the country that allow medically assisted suicide. Oregon is the only other state that allows it for nonresidents. Critics warn against the move. “It opens up this idea of ‘death tourism’ – that you travel there as a place to be killed,” Dwight Duncan, University of Massachusetts School of Law professor, told the National Catholic Register. “It’s one thing to travel to Vermont because they have great ski slopes. It’s another thing to travel there because they have great undertakers.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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