On Monday Vermont became the fourth state in the country to allow doctors to kill their patients.
Governor Peter Shumlin signed the measure in a state House ceremony in Montpelier, capping a decade-long effort on the issue in Vermont.
Vermont is the first state to pass such a law through the legislative process. Oregon and Washington enacted their laws by referendum; in Montana, it was legalized by the courts.
The law, which went into effect Monday, allows for an end-of-life procedure with the consent of a patient’s doctor after the patient has made more than one request for help in ending life. The bill also stipulates that the patient has a chance to retract the request.
Under the bill, a qualifying patient must be at least 18 years old, a Vermont resident and suffering from an “incurable and irreversible disease.”