Vermont doctors defeat campaign to mandate suicide counseling

suicide

Doctors across Vermont are celebrating after a pro-suicide organization dropped its appeal of a ruling that physicians are not required to counsel patients for suicide or refer them for assisted suicide.

“Vermont health care workers just want to act consistently with their reasonable and time-honored convictions without fear of government punishment,” said Senior Counsel Steven H Aden of the Alliance Defending Freedom.

He had argued before the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont in November of last year in Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare v. Hoser on behalf of the physicians.

“Conscientious Vermont healthcare professionals are in agreement with the state that the law doesn’t force them to participate in this heinous process, and they are pleased that the nation’s foremost advocate of assisted suicide, Compassion & Choices, has abandoned its effort to force them to do so,” he said.

It was the pro-suicide organization that originally had sought to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit by the doctors.

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

What followed was a consent agreement between the doctors and the state that endorsed the court’s conclusion that the state’s Act 39 law “does not force conscientious professionals to ensure all ‘terminal’ patients are informed about the availability of doctor-prescribed death.”

The suit was filed when the Vermont Board of Medical Practice and Office of Professional Regulation began interpreting the state’s assisted suicide law to require health-care professionals, regardless of their conscience or oath, to counsel patients on doctor-prescribed death as an option.

The problem was created by the passage of Act 39, Vermont’s assisted suicide bill, in combination with an existing, separate mandate for doctors to “counsel and refer for ‘all options’ for palliative care.” The state at the time considered that a mandate that all patients hear about the “option” of assisted suicide, ADF explained.

The doctors sued, and the federal court dismissed the complaint saying the mandate didn’t exist. The two sides then reached a consent agreement that the doctors would not pursue the argument further in court, and the state recognizes that they “do not have a professional obligation to counsel and refer patients for the Patient Choice at End of Life process.”

The federal court had said the doctors lacked a legal right to bring the lawsuit because the law actually doesn’t force them to act contrary to their conscience.

ADF said the decision by the pro-suicide group leaves healthcare professionals in the state “free to ‘do no harm’ without fear of retaliation for their pro-life views.”

The consent decree came about after U.S. District Judge Geoffrey Crawford pointed out that the doctors had no standing because there was no enforcement action pending, or likely.

He said until someone actually is punished, or harmed, by the state demands, “the court is left to speculate about how a member of plaintiffs’ organizations might respond to an inquiry from a terminally ill patient and whether that response might precipitate disciplinary proceeding.”

“The court runs the risk of writing an advisory opinion stating that a physician may act in one way but not in others in order to avoid any risk of professional discipline.”

WND reported last year the doctors argued the state “has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction.”

Here’s the help you’ll need to prepare your household for the realities of living under a centralized health-care system — order Dr. Lee Hieb’s “Surviving the Medical Meltdown: Your Guide to Living Through the Disaster of Obamacare”

 

Vermont doctors defeat campaign to mandate suicide counseling
Source: WND