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Vermont

Current Status

Act 39, Vermont Patient Choice and Control at the End of Life Act has been in effect since May 2013. The sunset provision on certain patient safeguards was removed by S.108 (Act 27) in May 2015.

As of April 2017, 49 Vermont residents received prescriptions under the state’s assisted death law, according to media reports.

2017 Legislative Session

In the 2017 legislative session, four bills are under consideration in the Vermont legislature seeking to restrict the use of Act 39, according to our friends at Patient Choices Vermont:

Legal Challenges

On April 7, 2017, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit brought forward in July 2016 by two Christian groups claiming Vermont’s law infringes on the physicians’ freedom of speech. Learn more →

History

Following our successful 10-year campaign to promote a Vermont aid-in-dying bill, in collaboration with the local partner Patient Choices Vermont, the Vermont state legislature passed the Act in 2013. Governor Peter Shumlin signed the Act on May 20, 2013. The law went into effect immediately. Vermont thus became the third state to enact a Death with Dignity law, the first to be passed through legislation.

The Vermont law is very similar to the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts in offering end-of-life options with strong safeguards against abuse.

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