By Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director – Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has filed a lawsuit to protect the conscience rights of healthcare professionals in Vermont and prevent physicians and patients from being coerced into assisted suicide.
According to the ADF, the case was filed on July 19 in federal court on behalf of health care professionals in Vermont who refuse to refer their patients for death by assisted suicide and against the officials in the Vermont Board of Medical Practice and the Office of Professional Regulation.
The ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden states in the media release:
“The government shouldn’t be telling health care professionals that they must violate their medical ethics in order to practice medicine
“… The state has no authority to order them to act contrary to that sincere and time-honored conviction.”
The Vermont assisted suicide law requires physicians to inform patients about all palliative care options. The ADF states that the Vermont Department of Health expanded the definition of palliative care to include assisted suicide. The ADF rquotes a Vermont Department of Health document that states:
“Do doctors have to tell patients about this option? Under Act 39 and the Patient’s Bill of Rights, a patient has the right to be informed of all options for care and treatment in order to make a fully-informed choice. If a doctor is unwilling to inform a patient, he or she must make a referral or otherwise arrange for the patient to receive all relevant information.”
The complaint filed as Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare v. Hoser states:
This is nothing but the redefinition of ‘palliative care’ to mean providing assisted suicide, an intolerable position for Plaintiffs and other conscientious physicians and healthcare professionals.”
Plaintiffs, state and national associations of conscientious healthcare professionals whose personal and professional ethics oppose the practice of assisted suicide, bring this action on behalf of their members against the operation of Act 39 to force them to counsel and/or refer for the practice.
A similar case was filed in Canada by physicians in Ontario who are being coerced by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons to refer patients to die by euthanasia or assisted suicide, even if the physician morally or ethically opposes killing patients.
Editor’s note. This appeared on the blog of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.