Showing posts with label physician-assisted suicide. Show all posts
Showing posts with label physician-assisted suicide. Show all posts

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vermont: Repeal physician-assisted suicide, now


I'm confused. Years ago we did away with the death penalty in Vermont (and rightly so) because we understood that despite the care and precision of our legal system, mistakes could be made and an innocent person could be wrongly put to death. The Legislature wasn't willing to take that chance and so abolished the death penalty.

Now we have Act 39 (physician-assisted suicide), another law whose only purpose is to result in the death of one of our citizens. Yet this law, with shockingly few protections and no oversight at all by our judicial system, passed the Legislature.

What is the difference here? A wrongful death is a wrongful death is a wrongful death.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Assisted Suicide Bill is Dead!

[To view a legal analysis of the failed bill, go here]

"Death with dignity debate tabled"
By Susie Steimie, March 16, 2012

http://www.wcax.com/story/17176558/vt-lawmakers-right-to-die-bill-wont-pass

MONTPELIER, Vt. -

The death with dignity debate has been tabled and a state senator is in the hospital. The vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Alice Nitka, is currently in the hospital after an accident at her home Thursday. The committee was expected to vote on the controversial end of life bill Friday.

The bill would give terminally ill patients the right to end their own life. But instead of voting Friday, the chair met with Gov. Peter Shumlin to say the bill will not move.

This session marks the first hearing of the end of life bill in a Vermont Senate committee. But lawmakers say most of the work was done behind closed doors.

Reporter Susie Steimle: How much would you say politics have come into play here?

Sen. Diane Snelling: Quite a bit.

"Oh yeah, there's been some strong pressure. But there's strong pressure on a lot of bills. But this is an emotional bill; it hits everyone," said Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington County.

Sears is holding his ground. He said the bill would not leave his committee this session. We now know that it won't.

As a seasoned senator with the president pro-tem on his side, much of the political pressure to keep this bill from moving came from him. On the other side it came from the governor, who supports the bill.
"When you're a good friend like I am with the governor, it's hard to tell when it's friendship and when it's pressure. But I know he's disappointed with the decision," Sears said.

The committee held extensive testimony this week, which drew hundreds of Vermonters from across the state.

Snelling, who supports the bill, says she fears this gave people false hope.

"I almost wish we hadn't taken testimony, which we did take, because in a sense that gets people to think something is going to happen," said Snelling, R-Chittenden County.

Snelling wanted to send this bill out of committee without recommendation, something Sears calls "wimpy."
"Saying we voted it out without recommendation is like saying we don't have the courage to stand up for what we believe," Sears said.

"I wish that this bill could come to the floor and I've heard from many people on both sides that it's a matter of conscience, in which case, let's vote on our conscience," Snelling said.

Snelling says at this point she's accepted defeat for this session, but that doesn't mean she's giving up.
"It's a difficult issue, I know it's a difficult issue, but I didn't come here to do easy things. So it's very important to stand on the strength of my convictions," Snelling said.

Both senators say it's likely some supporters of the end of life bill will try to attach it to the health care bill, which will be voted on later this session, but neither senator believes it will pass that way. Snelling says she expects it will be back next session.

Supporters don't know if there are enough votes to pass it in the Senate. It's extremely divided. I've heard the vote could be 16-14 either way, but part of the controversy here is this is truly a Senate battle; the House is ready to pass it and the governor supports it.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

"State can't oversee doctor assisted suicide"

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20111222/OPINION03/112220320/Letter-State-can-t-oversee-doctor-assisted-suicide
 

In a state where there are some 300-plus uninvestigated cases of abuse of the vulnerable, I simply cannot believe that Gov. Peter Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith and Rep. Ann Pugh, D-South Burlington, can even contemplate pushing a bill to help the terminally ill kill themselves! Curiously they are pushing doctor-prescribed death in the name of "compassionate care."

A state government that is unable to investigate a known backlog of 300 reports of abuse and neglect of the elderly, the disabled, the sick -- and to prevent such abuse in the first place -- is demonstrably untrustworthy to safely implement doctor-prescribed death!

Pete Gummere

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

" [T]he vast majority wore round yellow stickers reading 'I oppose physician-assisted suicide.'"

Death with dignity forum emotional

Bennington Banner, Zeke Wright
Posted: 03/04/2011 10:48:11 PM EST

Friday March 4, 2011

MANCHESTER -- The Mark Skinner Library was the site of an emotionally charged but largely civil conversation Thursday evening on Vermont's Death with Dignity bill, or H.274, introduced in the House on Feb. 17.

The basement room was filled to capacity with more than 100 individuals who, by show of hands, had nearly all made up their minds beforehand. And their position was not to be left unstated, as the vast majority wore round yellow stickers reading "I oppose physician-assisted suicide," handed out beforehand as the crowd settled in.

The event was sponsored by Patient Choices Vermont and featured David Babbott, a board member of that group in support of H.274, and George Eighmey, who as an Oregon state legislator in 1997 supported the successful adoption of similar legislation in his state -- the first in the nation.

"It's not our goal that they use the law," said Eighmey, "Our goal is to have the full range of options for this individual who is facing the end of life."

Vermont's H.274 would allow terminally ill patients with a prognosis of less than six months to live the option of a lethal prescription, obtained from their physician. Safeguards are built in to restrict eligibility and ensure willingness and mental competence, and include a second consulting physician, palliative care consultations, three formal requests (the last in writing), and a 15-day waiting period between requests.


To read the rest of the article, go to Archives here.