The Legislation Would Improve Vermont’s Existing Medical Aid in Dying Law: 

The Patient Choice at the End of Life Act took effect on May 20, 2013. Under the law, terminally ill, mentally capable adults with six months or less to live are able to request and self-administer medication that allows them to peacefully end their suffering, should they choose. In 2022, the law was improved to make three important changes. 

  • Removed the requirement that medication requests and an examination be done in the physical presence of a physician. 
  • Remove the requirement that the physician must have waited at least 48 hours after the occurrence of certain required events before writing the prescription. 
  • Extend immunities to any person who acts in good-faith compliance with the provisions of the law.

Current Legislation:

S. 26 and H.190 would amend the Vermont law to remove the residency requirement. Medical aid in dying should be available to all qualified patients, regardless of their zip code. The process of establishing residency in a new state while terminally ill is an extremely burdensome and expensive process that no one should have to endure. The residency restriction is a barrier to accessing medical aid in dying for dying people who live in a jurisdiction where the practice is not yet authorized. Additionally, a significant number of terminally ill people residing in jurisdictions where medical aid in dying is authorized have also been adversely impacted by these restrictions, as many receive their regular medical care across state lines. Further, the residency restriction is out-of-step with all other medical care provided in the United States.

For More Information:

Melissa Stacy
Northeast Regional Advocacy Manager at Compassion & Choices

Betsy J. Walkerman
President of Patient Choices Vermont