Federal Judge Upholds Vermont's End-of-Life Law | Off Message
Pin It
Favorite

Friday, April 7, 2017

Federal Judge Upholds Vermont's End-of-Life Law

Posted By on Fri, Apr 7, 2017 at 12:19 PM

click to enlarge Senators reaffirm the state’s end-of-life law in 2015. - FILE: TERRI HALLENBECK
  • FIle: TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Senators reaffirm the state’s end-of-life law in 2015.
A federal judge this week dismissed a legal challenge of Vermont’s 2013 end-of-life law that allows terminally ill patients to seek a lethal dose of medication to hasten their deaths.

U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford ruled that two medical organizations failed to show that their members — two doctors, a nurse and a pharmacist who oppose the law for religious and ethical reasons — faced any harm.

“Plaintiffs do not claim that any disciplinary action has been taken against their members,” Crawford wrote in his Wednesday ruling. “There is no credible threat of prosecution of Plaintiff’s members by Vermont’s medical regulators.”

The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and the Tennessee-based Christian Medical & Dental Associations filed the lawsuit in federal court last year.

Under the law, medical professionals aren’t required to write a lethal prescription but are obligated to alert eligible patients of the option — as they are of all available medical options. Doctors who object to the law can refer patients to the information elsewhere. In court, the state Attorney General’s Office allowed that such a referral could simply be a website, Crawford noted.

“The court concludes that Plaintiffs lack jurisdictional standing to challenge the constitutionality of Act 39 in the absence of any likelihood of harm,” Crawford wrote.

Guy Page, advocacy director for the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, said his organization is considering appealing the case to a higher court.

“Court cases like this don’t necessarily end with one judge’s decision,” he said.

Read the full decision here:



Tags: , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It
Favorite

About The Author

Terri Hallenbeck

Terri Hallenbeck

Bio:
Terri Hallenbeck is a Seven Days staff writer covering politics, the Legislature and state issues.

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

Latest in Off Message

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation