Late Supporter Lynda Bluestein Subject of Powerful Boston Globe Feature

January 29, 2024

Lynda Bluestein, plaintiff in our successful suit to remove the residency restriction in Vermont’s aid-in-dying law, was the subject of a moving feature, Dying on Lynda’s Terms, in the January 26 issue of the Boston Globe. It details the dedicated advocacy of Lynda and her husband, Paul, even as she grew increasingly weak from terminal cancer — and the difficulty in driving nearly five hours to Vermont to take the medication instead of at her own home in Connecticut:

“Luckily for Lynda, Compassion & Choices, an advocacy group that champions the rights of terminally ill people, shared her frustration over the residency requirement. In his lobbying for changing the law in Connecticut, Paul had become friendly with the staff at Compassion & Choices, including President and CEO Kim Callinan. After Lynda’s terminal diagnosis, Paul called Callinan for advice. Callinan called Lynda, asking if she’d be a plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Vermont’s residency requirement.

I said yes, immediately,’ Lynda recalled. 

Callinan told Lynda there was another plaintiff, Dr. Diana Barnard, a hospice and palliative care physician in Middlebury, Vt., who was frustrated that she could not offer medical aid in dying to her patients from neighboring New York. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Lynda and Barnard forged a formidable team. In August 2022, they sued the state of Vermont, arguing the residency requirement in Vermont’s 2013 medical aid in dying law violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause, among others.

Seven months later, lawyers on both sides had hammered out a settlement, allowing Lynda to take advantage of Vermont’s medical aid-in-dying process without establishing residency. Two months later, prompted by Lynda’s case, Vermont legislators passed, and Governor Phil Scott signed, a new law ending the residency requirement.

Lynda was now free to carry out her plan, under the care of Barnard. But the law still presented a host of legalistic and bureaucratic hoops Lynda had to jump through. …

Read the full article at the Boston Globe.

Compassion & Choices
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Patricia A. González-Portillo
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