Bridgeport patient sues Vermont over ‘dying aid’ restrictions

A Bridgeport cancer patient is suing the state for the right to die with the help of a doctor. But she’s not suing Connecticut, she’s suing Vermont.

Linda Bleustein died of fallopian tube cancer.

“I don’t have decades,” she said.

Connecticut doctors are prohibited from helping patients take their own lives, so Mr. Brustein wants to travel to Vermont. However, only in-state residents are eligible. In a new federal lawsuit, Bluestein says the Vermont residency requirement is unconstitutional.
“The U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to interstate travel and does not recognize restrictions that states may impose on anything that might impede interstate travel, including access to medical care,” it said. Amitai Heller, an advocacy group representing Bluestein, a compassion and choice attorney, said.

Compassion and Choice settled a similar lawsuit against Oregon in March.

Ten other states allow “assisted death,” also known as physician-assisted suicide, but only Montana (and now Oregon) allows out-of-state patients access to medical care. If a judge overrules Vermont’s law, patients across the country could travel for treatment.

Mary Beerworth of Vermont’s Commission on Survival Rights, which opposes assisted suicide, said that if the challenge succeeds, Vermont could become a destination for terminally ill patients seeking to end their lives.

Vermont officials declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“The Vermont Attorney General’s Office will review the complaint and file a response with the court,” said Lauren Jandl, Executive Director of the AG.

In Connecticut, a dying aid bill has repeatedly failed despite important safeguards.

State Senator Heather Sommers (R-Groton) said at a hearing on March 4, “There are still too many loopholes available and too many opportunities for exploitation.”

Ms. Bleustein says moving to Vermont would be too expensive and time consuming because she has limited time left.

“It’s not just packing a few things and an overnight kit and moving to Vermont,” she said.

Bluestein watched his mother die of cancer. She wants to go on her own terms.

“My mother was shy. I don’t want a granddaughter, a son, a daughter. I don’t want anyone to see me not being Linda.” They know and love. ”

Brucetine’s husband, a doctor, Paul, said he didn’t want to see his wife suffer.

“People don’t let their dogs and cats suffer like that, but they still totally want people to suffer,” he said. “I don’t understand it.” .

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