As we expected, the hearings in the Vermont House today contained nothing we had not already heard in the Senate. Even the witnesses were pretty much the same, except for Vermont Attorney General Sorell, who called assisted suicide the next human rights issue. It astonishes us that he could think of assisted suicide as a human right, when he had just heard the Vermont Medical Society list the many ways in which it will destroy the freedom simply to live of so many people, including the victims of the suicide contagion it is is likely to cause and may have already caused in Oregon, the elderly who will become targets for abuse like that for which an Oregon woman has just been charged in an assisted suicide case, the family members who will learn after the fact that their loved one has committed suicide with assistance, and the people who will die prematurely because their terminal diagnosis was wrong. The doctors predicted that today’s medical students will not want to practice in a state with a single payer health insurance system with assisted suicide added to the complications that will cause.
Still, the push continues to restore the language of the original, Oregon-style bill that failed to pass in the Senate. Has our state completely taken leave of its senses?
There will be more hearings, all day long tomorrow and Friday. Go if you possibly can, even for a short time. While opponents of assisted suicide were as numerous today as proponents, they did not outnumber them. We cannot let fatigue and the fact that we have heard all this before keep us from continuing the fight.
There will be a public hearing at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, April 16. That will be the day for citizens to turn out in numbers and to make their case once more that this is bad for our state and for everyone of us who lives in it.