Connecticut Woman Ends Her Life by Legal Euthanasia in Vermont

A Connecticut woman who fought for Vermont to extend their euthanasia law to allow people from other states to travel there to die has ended her life as part of a settlement allowing her access to their assisted suicide program.

Lynda Bluestein, 76, died by euthanasia in Vermont on Thursday.

Bluestein was battling fallopian tube cancer.

The euthanasia advocacy group Compassion & Choices filed a lawsuit against the state of Vermont on Bluestein’s behalf in August 2022.

The lawsuit argued that the state not offering assisted suicide services to non-residents violated the U.S. Constitution.

The New York Daily News reports, “The state agreed in March to let Bluestein die there legally, then in May extended that right to all terminally ill people wishing to end their lives when they choose. Oregon is the only other state to allow medically assisted suicide for non-residents.”

Bluestein told The Associated Press last year that she wanted to die on her own terms.

“I wanted to have agency over when cancer had taken so much for me that I could no longer bear it,” she said. “That’s my choice.”

In 2013, the Vermont Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, or Act 39, legalized assisted suicide for people battling terminal illnesses if their prognosis was for six more months of life or less.

Euthanasia is legal in California, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, Montana, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Washington, Hawaii, and New Mexico. The only other state that allows people to travel there to die is Oregon.

Florida, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire are all considering legalizing euthanasia this year.

In July 2021, the Psychiatric Times published an article in opposition to assisted suicide and noted that “preliminary reports suggest increased rates of suicide in the general population of states that have legalized PAS (physician assisted suicide). Specifically, ‘legalizing PAS has been associated with an increased rate of total suicides relative to other states, and no decrease in non-assisted suicides.’ Similarly, suicide rates in the Netherlands (where medical euthanasia is legal) have accelerated, compared to neighboring countries that have not legalized medical euthanasia.”

They report that physician and ethicist Leon Kass, MD, has pointedly cautioned: “We must care for the dying, not make them dead.”

The American College of Physicians has said, “physician-assisted suicide is neither a therapy nor a solution to difficult questions raised at the end of life. On the basis of substantive ethics, clinical practice, policy, and other concerns, the ACP does not support legalization of physician-assisted suicide. … However, through high-quality care, effective communication, compassionate support, and the right resources, physicians can help patients control many aspects of how they live out life’s last chapter.”

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