Woman To Become Vermont’s First Nonresident To Get Medically Assisted Suicide In State

(ConservativeJournal.org) – Lynda Bluestein, a 76-year-old resident of Connecticut, will become the first non-Vermont resident to use Vermont’s medically assisted suicide law. Bluestein has terminal ovarian and fallopian tube cancers, which are known to have very low survival rates, even after remission.

Vermont is one of 10 states, including California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Washington, and Washington DC, where assisted suicide is legal. A recent judicial decision in 2022 expanded Oregon’s policy to include non-residents, making it similar to Vermont’s law.

Bluestein, with Dr. Diana Barnard, a physician, started legal proceedings against Vermont in 2022, challenging the state’s residency requirements for assisted suicide. The lawsuit emphasized Bluestein’s wish for what she called a “dignified” end, saying the option should be available to her if the pain becomes unbearable.

Eventually, Vermont authorities waived the residency criteria for Bluestein in March 2023, which ended in a settlement that enabled her access to the state’s medically assisted suicide services. Then in May 2023, Vermont amended its legislation, becoming the second state to eradicate residency restrictions and extend the provision to any terminally ill person above 18 years. Governor Phil Scott passed the law to circumvent any other legal proceedings from somebody wishing to use the assisted suicide services of the state.

Bluestein’s decision is, according to her, rooted in personal experiences; she witnessed her mother’s agonizing battle with cancer, vowing not to subject her children to a similar ordeal. When telling her story to The Associated Press in 2022, Bluestein articulated her desire for her children’s last memories of her to be happy, rather than of her slowly dying.

While medically assisted suicide is a polarizing subject, a 2018 Gallup poll disclosed that 71% of respondents advocate for doctors being the main role in deciding whether a patient can use the option, with a narrower majority, 54%, saying its morally acceptable for the patient themselves to do it.

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