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.”
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.