Thursday, April 06, 2017

Objectors To Assisted Suicide Lack Standing To Challenge Vermont Law

In Vermont Alliance for Ethical Health Care, Inc. v. Hoser, (D VT, April 5, 2017), a Vermont federal district court dismissed for lack of standing a suit challenging Vermont's law which protects physicians who prescribe a lethal dose of medication to terminally ill patients who meet specified requirements.  Plaintiffs, two organizations whose members are healthcare providers holding religious and ethical opposition to assisted suicide, sought injunctions shielding from professional disciplinary action healthcare providers who for religious or ethical reasons refuse to inform patients that assisted suicide is an available option.  the court said in part:
The prospect of imminent harm through the filing of disciplinary proceedings in the future is highly unlikely. The parties largely agree on a solution to their dilemma which satisfies both sides. They agree that making a false statement or ignoring a patient's inquiry is wrong. Both agree that directing a patient to a website explaining the conditions under which assisted suicide might be available will neither violate religious principles nor fall short of the physician's obligation to provide information to the patient.