Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Vermont Bill S74 would permit assisted suicide by telemedicine.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

The assisted suicide lobby is focusing on expanding assisted suicide in states where it is legal.

Vermont assisted suicide bill S74 expands assisted suicide by allowing assisted suicide by telemedicine, which permits a doctor to prescribe a lethal assisted suicide drugs without ever meeting the person, eliminating the 48 hour waiting period before prescribing the lethal drugs and defining assisted suicide as "healthcare service."

For several years, the assisted suicide lobby has promoted the use of telemedicine for approving and prescribing lethal assisted suicide drugs. Assisted suicide by telemedicine eliminates the chance to discover that the person asking for assisted usicide was misdiagnosed. If the doctor does not examine the person who requests assisted suicide then they are basing their assisted suicide approval solely on the person's medical record.

Permitting assisted suicide by telemedicine in states where assisted suicide is legal may enable doctors to approve and prescribe out-of-state assisted suicides. Telemedicine approvals enables the assisted suicide lobby to set-up a national assisted suicide approval and prescribing center to permit assisted suicide nationally.

There are several other concerns with S74 but I am really concerned that S74 defines assisted suicide as a "healthcare service." Defining assisted suicide as a healthcare service leads to a right to assisted suicide.

Further to that, if assisted suicide is defined as a healthcare service, doctors who refuse to participate in assisted suicide may be forced to refer patients for assisted suicide. A physician who does not provide certain healthcare services is expected to refer patients to physicians who will provide the healthcare service.

Vermont Bill S74 concerns the normalizing of assisted suicide and permitting doctors to prescribe lethal assisted suicide drugs to someone who they have never met. 

Assisted suicide is not a healthcare service, in fact it is antithetical to healthcare.

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