Perhaps the best way to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Act 39, the Vermont medical aid in dying law, was the passage of House Bill 190 which removed the residency requirement for those seeking MAID. Signed by Governor Phil Scott (R-Vt) on May 2nd, this amendment pre-empted a federal lawsuit asserting that residency requirements violate the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment.
Found in the 14th Amendment, the equal protection clause mandates that individuals in similar situations be treated equally by the law. The 14th Amendment will, no doubt, bring the residency requirement into question with the other states that also allow for MAID.
The end-of-life options group in Vermont, Patient Choices Vermont, is quick to warn terminally-ill adults living outside of Vermont that the qualifications and safeguards in Act 39 still apply. Although you do not need to establish residency, you still need to work with two Vermont doctors and you need to self-administer the prescription within Vermont borders.
If you are considering traveling to Vermont for MAID, a detailed checklist can be found on the PatientChoices.org website:
In the meantime, Vermont, congrats on offering this end-of-life option for the last ten years and may you continue to advocate for patient choices for decades to come.