Physician-Assisted Suicide Law Upheld in Vermont

Vermont’s law permitting physician-assisted suicide will stay in place, now that a federal court has dismissed a lawsuit that Christian groups brought in July challenging the law.

Judge Geoffrey Crawford, for U.S. District Court of Vermont in Rutland, dismissed the case Wednesday on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the lawsuit. The decision effectively keeps the controversial law in place.

The plaintiffs, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare Inc. and Christian Medical and Dental Associations Inc. alleged that Vermont’s physician-assisted suicide law, Act 39 of 2013, violates the U.S. Constitution.

The groups said that even though the law does not require all physicians to write lethal prescriptions for patients who are seeking them, doctors who disagree with physician-assisted suicide should not be required to refer patients to other doctors who may be willing to write the prescription.

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