State takes first-ever path to approve assisted suicide

Vermont in May became the first state to enact a law authorizing physician-assisted suicide through the legislative process.

After the bill narrowly passed the state Senate, the House passed the measure 75-65 on May 13, concluding Vermont’s decade-long political tussle over doctor-assisted suicide, which advocates call aid in dying. Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law on May 20.

“This historic legislative victory proves that the aid-in-dying issue is no longer the third rail of politics,” said Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, a Denver organization that advocates for legal access to doctor-hastened death.

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