Terminally Ill Woman Travels to Vermont to Fulfill Her Final Wishes

(PatriotWise.com) — A Connecticut woman who fought to expand access to a law in neighboring Vermont that allows terminally ill people access to lethal medication to end their lives passed away last Thursday in the state, the Associated Press reported.

Lynda Bluestein, who suffered from terminal cancer, experienced a “comfortable and peaceful” death, according to her husband Paul.

The group Compassion & Choices filed suit against Vermont on behalf of Bluestein and her physician Diana Barnard in 2022, claiming that the state’s patient choice and control law’s residency requirement violated the Constitution’s equal protection, commerce, privileges, and immunities clauses.

In March 2023, the state reached a settlement to allow Bluestein, who lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to die in Vermont under the law. Two months later, the state made that accommodation available to any out-of-state resident in similar circumstances by revising the law to allow anyone in the United States to travel to Vermont to end their lives.

In an email to Compassion & Choices last Thursday, Bluestein’s husband, Paul, said his wife’s final words were that she was happy that she would not have to suffer anymore.

Diana Barnard, Bluestein’s physician, said in a statement last Thursday that Bluestein had been “an advocate all the way through.” She said that while Bluestein’s death was a “sad day,” there was “beauty” and “peace,” knowing that she had “a say in what happened at the very end of her life.”

Dr. Barnard said everyone, like Lynda Bluestein, “deserves to have access much closer to home” since not everyone can make the arrangements to travel to Vermont to end their lives.

Ten states currently allow assisted suicide. In addition to Vermont, Oregon is the only other state to allow non-residents to travel there to do it.

The Vermont law, which was enacted in 2013, allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminal patients who are expected to die within six months. Patients must make two oral requests to a physician before submitting a formal written request that is signed in front of witnesses.

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