Studio 54 Owner Dying by Assisted Suicide, and Here’s Where and How It’s Legal in New England
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Well this isn't something you run across everyday, that's for sure. The former owner of the infamous, iconic Studio 54 in New York, Mark Fleischman, publicly announced that he plans to die by assisted suicide on July 13.
My first thought was that he's clearly leaving the country, because it's not legal in the United States, right? Wrong, kind of. I'll get back to Mark's plans in a moment, but first, here's what I learned during my research.
While it's completely illegal in 40 states, with 10 states allowing someone to take their own life with various stipulations. According to Compassion and Choices, of those 10 states, Maine and Vermont are the only two in New England where assisted suicide is legal.
Interestingly, there's assisted suicide and euthanasia. According to the BBC, euthanasia, which most of us relate to with pets, is when a doctor ends a person's life painlessly through a lethal dose of drugs. Assisted suicide is when you provide someone with a lethal dose of drugs to self-administer when they choose to.
Maine has the Death with Dignity Act, where you may choose to self-administer a lethal dose given to you or can have someone administer the drugs for you. However, you have to be terminally ill with up to six months left to live. The same goes for Vermont.
Meanwhile, Mark who is 82, told The New York Post that he plans to end his life on July 13 with the help of the Swiss assisted suicide nonprofit Dignitas, because he says he can't do anything for himself anymore. Even the most simple acts of putting on his own shoes or getting out of bed is impossible.
However, he lives in California where it's legal only if he's terminally ill with six months to live, just like Maine and Vermont. Mark has been suffering from an undiagnosed medical issue since 2016, so he has to leave the country to do this legally. His ashes will return to California from Zurich.
The other states with various laws on assisted suicide include Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New Mexico, as well as Washington, DC.