Vermont legalizes assisted suicide

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont became the fourth state in the country Monday to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medicine to terminally ill patients.

Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the bill into law at a Statehouse ceremony after years of debate on the issue among legislators, health providers, and residents.

The End of Life Choices law was effective immediately, although it could be weeks before the state Health Department develops regulations in accordance with the new measure.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen said he expects doctors to write between 10 and 20 lethal prescriptions a year, with a smaller number of patients using the drugs to end their lives.

Visit for more information on this new law.