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Reblogged:Vermont Slammed for 'Suicide Tourism'

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A man's life is his own to live (or end) as he sees fit, so long as he does not interfere with the ability of others to do the same. In keeping with this principle, I have long advocated that there be a legal framework protecting the right to physician-assisted suicide.

While I am not familiar with details, I am glad to know that several states have such laws on the books. One of these, Vermont, has recently ended its residency requirement, meaning that residents of other states wishing to avail themselves of this option can now do so.

Predictably, this has led the the state being belittled as a "suicide tourism" destination:
Image by Ross Sneddon, via Unsplash, license.
Critics of such laws say without the residency requirements states risk becoming assisted suicide tourism destinations.


"To be clear, Vermont Right to Life opposed the underlying concept behind assisted suicide and opposes the move to remove the residency requirement as there are still no safeguards that protect vulnerable patients from coercion," said Beerworth, adding she had a number of concerns including what liability Vermont could incur if the drugs failed to end a patient's life.

Supporters of Vermont's medically assisted suicide law say it has stringent safeguards, including a requirement that those who seek to use it be capable of making and communicating their health care decision to a physician. Patients are required to make two requests orally to the physician over a certain timeframe and then submit a written request that they signed in the presence of two or more witnesses who aren't interested parties. Witnesses must sign and affirm that patients appeared to understand the nature of the document and were free from duress or undue influence at the time.
The objections raised by Vermont Right to Life are patently ridiculous: The legitimate concern about coercion seems to have been addressed adequately, and the concern about the state facing liability exposure is revealing, coming as it does from a conservative organization: That one could be solved by a combination of tort reform and separating the state from the health care industry.

If they spent their time on either of these, they would become much more deserving of the name they have given themselves.

In my opinion, Alex Epstein put the reasons for their objection much more correctly and plainly in an old article about Terry Schiavo:
[R]eligious conservatives do not value actual human life; they are consistent followers of the Christian ideal that human life is properly lived in sacrifice to God, and that suffering is proof of virtue. The worship of suffering is fundamental to Christianity, a religion whose central figure is glorified for dying a horrific death for the sins of mankind. A prominent religious conservative commented on the Schiavo case, "Terry Schiavo . . . is suffering in obedience to God's will." He added: "Isn't suffering in pursuit of God's will the exact center of religious life?"
I would like to have the option of assisted suicide if I suffered from certain medical conditions, and I would travel to avail myself of it, if I had to. That said, I hope I never have to face such a decision.

To mock someone suffering to the point of wanting to end his life -- and having to travel to do so (!) on top of that -- as a "tourist" shows real chutzpah, coming as it does from someone whose worldview is based on the alleged will of an imaginary being.

-- CAV

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