Vermont called ‘death state’ with doctor-assisted suicide

Now that Vermont allows “doctor-prescribed suicide,” the “magnificent landscape of this state, which echoes life from its majestic mountains to its powerful waterways, no longer is reflected in the laws which govern the Green Mountain State,” said the head of the statewide Diocese of Burlington.

“Vermont is now identified as one of the few death states where it is legal for life to be terminated at its beginning and end stages,” said Bishop Salvatore Matano in a statement issued May 20, a little more than an hour after Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

“It is a tragic moment in the rich history of our state that our elected officials have passed and signed into law legislation placing medical professionals in the position of legally prescribing medicines with the sole intention of terminating human life,” the bishop said.

Vermont becomes the first state to have such a law passed by the Legislature.

Under Vermont’s new physician-assisted suicide law, doctors can prescribe death-inducing drugs to terminally ill individuals who want to commit suicide, who then administer the medication themselves. The Vermont law limits the prescriptions of death-inducing medications to residents of the state.

Physician-assisted suicide has been legalized in Oregon and Washington by a ballot initiative and in Montana by court ruling.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, said May 21 that passage of the Vermont law was “a tragic moment” for that state and said it points to an “alarming trend nationwide.”

“The ‘slippery slope’ that critics of the euthanasia agenda have long warned against is in full view here,” Cardinal O’Malley said in a statement. “I invite Catholics and all people of good will to fight the future passage of such laws, which offend human dignity and undermine true respect and care for people with serious illness.”

In his statement, Bishop Matano said Vermont’s new law “asks those in the medical profession, which is a vocation dedicated to the service of life, to destroy the very lives they have pledged to save and to comfort at life’s most critical moments.”

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Category: Respect Life