Vermont has had an assisted-suicide law in effect for more than eight years now. It was enacted with safeguards to make sure the practice isn't misused – but as with several other states, those safeguards are fading out of existence. In fact, what was originally described as "protections" against potential misuse under the Vermont law are now considered "obstacles," according to a National Review article.
Legalized assisted suicide in Vermont can now occur via Zoom or Skype – effectively eliminating the safeguards implemented when the law first passed in 2013.
"Now [individuals] can order up those [lethal] drugs by telephone," Mary Beerworth of Vermont Right to Life tells AFN. "[And legislators have] taken away the second in-person consultation.
"So, in effect they have made it easier for someone who is abusing or wanting to get rid of an elderly family member or someone they stand to inherit from to have their way."
The opponents of assisted suicide fought hard for the second face-to-face meeting with a doctor to make sure a person isn't being abused, forced, or pressured in any way.
"Certainly, suicide is raging out of control here in Vermont," the pro-lifer laments, "and this just adds to the problem. Watching grandma take a lethal dose does not help the suicide crisis in our state."
The recently passed legislation (S. 74) clearly states that patients can make an oral request for the drugs or a second consultation via telemedicine instead of doing so in the previously required "physical presence" of a physician. The measure was signed into law by Republican Governor Phil Scott on April 27, 2022.
Interestingly, other amendments to the existing law changed gender references from "he or she" to either "the physician" or "the patient's" – and established legal immunity for licensed healthcare providers, including pharmacists.