Some veterans who want aid-in-dying will have to move first

Share this content:

Though terminally ill California residents can legally take lethal drugs to end their lives, the state's Veterans Homes have announced they will move any residents who want to try.

Proponents of the aid-in-dying and movement and residents of the Veterans Home of California-Yountville are publicly opposing a regulation by the California Department of Veterans Affairs that requires facilities to discharge residents who intend to use the law.

Oregon, Colorado and Vermont also allow aid-in-dying but prohibit intentionally lethal doses in their state-run veterans' homes, according to a report by Kaiser Health News.

Washington D.C.'s Armed Forces Retirement Home won't assist patients in any way, although an aid-in-dying law took effect last year.

Washington state, however, has a policy allowing veterans to remain in government-run homes and at least one has died by prescription, a spokeswoman told Kaiser.

As more U.S. jurisdictions consider whether to legalize the practice, more state-run homes will have to confront the ethical dilemma of sanctioning death or forcing a vulnerable patient to move at life's end.

Attorney and McKnight's columnist John Durso has previously advised private providers to document their policies carefully.

“While residents under DWD laws have the right to participate in the self-infliction of ending their life, providers may prevent staff or independent contractors from participating in the process and even prevent them from witnessing the written request,” he wrote. “The healthcare provider, based upon the sponsor or owner's religious beliefs, may seek to prohibit the process in their facility.”

In California, state officials said they adopted the rule to ensure they wouldn't lose $68 million in federal funding.