Vermont has a law allowing for physician-assisted suicide. State agencies are interpreting the law so as to require doctors to tell their patients about this option. Also, doctors who don’t want to kill their patients must refer them to another doctor who will.
A number of Vermont doctors have decided to fight these requirements and are suing the regulators that are forcing them to violate the Hippocratic oath.
Vermont doctors and health care professionals are pushing back against an interpretation of state law that they say requires them to help kill patients who wish to die.
Members of two medical groups, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and Christian Medical & Dental Associations, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against officials in two state medical agencies responsible for the interpretation.The lawsuit says these agencies have interpreted a 2013 physician-assisted suicide law, Act 39, in a way that would require health care professionals to counsel terminally ill patients about the option to commit suicide.
Additionally, under such an interpretation of the law, if medical professionals are not willing to help patients end their lives, then they must refer them to physicians who will, the lawsuit says.
Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Steven H. Aden, who represents the medical professionals, said this reading of the law violates the First Amendment and certain aspects of Obamacare.