Physician Assisted Suicide

Advocates talk to lawmakers about very personal stories about death and dying.
Compassion & Choices / Facebook

Supporters from across New York gathered in Albany this week to ask lawmakers to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act, which would authorize doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill adults wishing to end their lives. 

Listener Essay: Death With Dignity

Sep 20, 2016

The advocates for Physician  Aid in Dying, while laudatory in their goal, fail to inform the public of the real life application of the law’s so called “safe guards”. Anyone who cannot speak, or cannot write, or who cannot swallow is excluded from the mercy the law intends. Terms that most likely violate the American’s with Disabilities  Act. They simply cannot make the required contemporaneous request for the medicine. In addition, anyone who lacks mental capacity is also excluded and the use of a prior directive, or health care proxy is not permitted. Anyone with late stage ALS, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s or other neurodegenerative disease is excluded. The Alzheimer’s Association has announced that one in six women over the age of 60 will get that disease. The Oregon model is best suited for a person dying of cancer and in fact about 80% of the people in Oregon who make the request for aid in dying have cancer. The people who need it the most, long term suffers of pain and indignity are excluded.

Advocates of medically assisted suicide want New York lawmakers to pass legislation authorizing terminally ill patients to request drugs to end their lives. But they acknowledge the measure faces significant challenges.

Sean Philpott-Jones: How to Die in Canada

Feb 12, 2015

Last week, our neighbors to the north took a huge step towards legalizing physician aid-in-dying. On Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down that country's ban on the practice, suspending two sections of the Criminal Code that outlawed assisted suicide and euthanasia, and ordering the Canadian Parliament and the various provincial legislatures to draft new legislation that would allow physician aid-in-dying.

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A poll indicates there's strong support in Connecticut for legislation that would allow doctors to prescribe medication to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

Assisted Suicide Backers Appeal To Mass. Lawmakers

Feb 26, 2014

Supporters of legislation that would allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the right to self-administer life-ending drugs are making their case at the Statehouse.

Advocates say they plan to deliver almost 7,000 petitions signed by Massachusetts citizens in favor of the legislation to lawmakers Wednesday.

The legislation would require the terminally ill to fill out a form stating they understand that the drugs they are requesting from their doctors are intended to result in death.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

A group opposed to Vermont’s new End-of-Life-Choices law has begun running ads on local television stations urging its repeal.

Phil and Pam Gradwell/Flickr

Vermont's smallest hospital has become the latest to opt out of the state's new aid-in-dying law, but hospital officials expect to revisit the issue soon.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Supporters, and a few opponents, crowded into the Governor’s Ceremonial office on the second floor of the Vermont statehouse Monday afternoon to witness the signing of the landmark End-of-Life Choices bill into law.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont’s Governor signed a bill Monday that will allow Vermont physicians to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients that request it.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The day after the Vermont Senate passed legislation allowing doctors to provide lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it, legislators gave backers of the bill a scare.

Darnyi Zsoka/Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

The Vermont House has rejected an attempt to put before voters a referendum on whether to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients who request it.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

A Death with Dignity, or Physician-Assisted Suicide, bill has moved to the Vermont House for consideration. Among the tasks legislators must determine is which version of the measure to move forward.


A bill that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients could be heading for trouble as the Vermont Senate prepares to debate it.

The Senate on Tuesday rejected a Judiciary Committee recommendation that the bill be defeated. But as the bill came up for preliminary passage Wednesday, there were efforts to introduce big changes or delay action.

Rama/Public Domain/Wikimedia

Vermont lawmakers are once again considering a measure that would allow an individual to request prescription medication to end their life if diagnosed with a terminal condition.


Former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin told lawmakers she supports legislation that would allow physicians to help terminally ill patients end their own lives.