There has been a lot of good news this year (everywhere but Vermont, it seems) on the assisted suicide front. There has been widespread rejection of attempts to legalize doctor-prescribed death in multiple State legislatures, with California this week providing the most recent defeat.
Evidently the “momentum” claimed by Compassion and Choices (aka The Hemlock Society) after they were able to hoodwink some foolish Vermont legislators into passing Act 39 in 2013, and resisting attempts to repeal it in 2015, has come to a screeching halt.
The key reason? Legislators in the places other than Vermont where assisted suicide bills were debated this year actually listened to common sense and reason. Once they got past the media hype of Brittany Maynard’s highly publicized death-by-prescription, and understood that legalizing doctor-assisted death would place vulnerable people at risk of pressure and coercion, legislators resoundingly rejected doctor assisted suicide.
In a statement released yesterday, the group Californians Against Assisted Suicide said, “What was seemingly inevitable just a month ago has seen increasing opposition due to a broad, bipartisan coalition that has worked tirelessly to inform California legislators about our policy concerns with assisted suicide.
‘Those of us advocating on behalf of disability rights organizations understand that choice is a myth in the context of our health care reality. End-of-life treatment options are already limited for millions of people—constrained by poverty, disability discrimination, and other obstacles. Adding this so-called ‘choice’ into our dysfunctional healthcare system will push people into cheaper lethal options. There is no assurance everyone will be able to choose treatment over suicide; no material assistance for families of limited means who are struggling to care for loved ones; no meaningful protection from abusive family members or caregivers.’
Coalition coordinator and Tim Rosales followed, ‘Throughout the country we have seen assisted suicide proposals begin with very high approval ratings only to go down to defeat. In 2012, the Massachusetts Ballot Question 2 voter initiative began with nearly 70% approval in many public opinion polls only to go down to defeat 51% to 49%. Already this year we have seen assisted suicide legislation fail in Connecticut, Maryland, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maine, Delaware and Nevada. The more people learn about the issue, the more public opinion turns against it.’”
It is time for Vermont to rethink this very misguided law, and for Vermonters to vote out of office all those legislators who have championed such a shameful cause, before anyone else gets hurt.