In italics below is the AP Story about the death of the Vermont bill that would have legalized assisted suicide and now will not!!!! It has made the national news. We found it on the website Real Clear Politics. (http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2012/Mar/16/vt__lawmakers__right_to_die_bill_won_t_pass.html
Thanks are due to the three Senators on the Judiciary Committee who opposed this bill, especially to the committee chair, Senator Richard Sears, who stood up to pressure from a governor of his own party in refusing to bring this to a floor vote. Yesterday he told Vermont Public Radio that his opposition was a matter of conscience, based on the threat of unintended adverse consequences and also on his personal experience caring for his mother during the last months of her life and becoming closer to her than he had ever been before. Senator Sears is a man of feeling, conviction and great courage. True Dignity thanks him, and we hope the readers of this post thank him, not only with personal letters to him but with letters to his local newspapers, the Bennington Banner and the Manchester Journal.
Thanks are also due to the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Health Care, especially to physicians Edward Mahoney, Phillip Brown, Joseph Nasca, and Raymond Milhous, and nurse Lynn Caulfield, whose testimony eloquently refuted the lobbyist from Compassion and Choices at the hearing last Wednesday. Thanks to Ed Paquin, who testified about what assisted suicide would mean for people with disabilities. We thank the ten physicians from Bennington, led by Jim Keenan, Carol Salazar, and Simon Drew, who laid out their concerns in a wonderful joint letter to the Bennington Banner.
We thank every Vermont citizen who called or wrote his or her legislators and/or the editors of Vermont’s newspapers. We thank all those who sacrificed their time to go to Montpelier and show our legislators, by our simple presence in such large numbers, that Vermonters do not want assisted suicide in our state.
Though we are not yet home free in this legislative session and will not let up our guard, the chances of assisted suicide’s language’s being attached to another piece of legislation seem slim. We can allow ourselves to rejoice.
We want the disappointed proponents of assisted suicide to know tonight that we understand you wanted this legislation because you truly see it as compassionate and as increasing choice. Please understand that we fought it because we believe legal assisted suicide is a recipe for abuse, that it pressures everyone and thus would actually destroy choice, even yours, at one of the most vulnerable times in your life. We pledge to fight, hopefully alongside you, to make sure our Vermont community and our government have the best end of life care in the world, so that every Vermonter may die with dignity, free of mental or physical pain, surrounded by love, in peace.
True Dignity is not going anywhere except maybe on a little vacation. We will continue to track assisted suicide legislation in the state and around the world. We will remain ready to react to future attempts to make it legal in Vermont.
March 16, 2012
Vt. lawmakers: Right-to-die bill won’t pass
Legislation that would allow doctors to help terminally ill patients to take their own lives won’t pass this year, two key Vermont Senate leaders said Friday.
Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard Sears _ both Democrats who oppose the bill _ said they won’t bring the measure up for a vote on the Senate floor this year.
After hearing emotional testimony from both supporters and critics of the right-to-die legislation, Sears said Friday that three of the five members of his committee remained opposed.
Supporters of the bill, including Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin, had pushed the committee to take the unusual step of sending the bill to the full Senate with a recommendation that it be defeated, in hopes they could get a majority of the 30-member body to buck the committee and support its passage.
“The governor asked us to move the bill adversely. I’m opposed to that,” Sears said. “I don’t think that’s a good way to do business.”
Friday was the deadline for bills to be passed out of committees where they originated if backers hoped to see passage this year. Sears said he had decided not to call for a vote in his committee in part because its vice chairwoman, Sen. Alice Nitka, was hospitalized after being injured in a fall Thursday night and was absent. The Ludlow Democrat opposes the right-to-die bill.
The Senate Rules Committee could allow an exception to the deadline, but Campbell said he did not expect that would happen in the six weeks scheduled between now and the end of this year’s legislative session.
“We’ve got a lot of things on our plate,” Campbell said. He cited major legislation to overhaul health insurance and plans for replacing the state psychiatric hospital and a government office complex in Waterbury, which were closed by flooding during Tropical Storm Irene. “We’ve got a tremendous amount of work to do and we’re running out of time,” he said.
Dick Walters, president of Patient Choices at End of Life Vermont, said he was disappointed in the announcement from Sears and Campbell.
“As advocates, we are prepared to fight for a vote on the Senate floor this year,” Walters said in a statement. “We continue to see a path to passage. The Senate vote is too close to call. If the issue gets an unobstructed vote on the floor, there is a real chance it could pass.”
“Death with dignity,” as supporters call it, or “physician-assisted suicide,” as opponents describe it, is the law in three states so far: Oregon, Washington and Montana. Supporters say it allows terminally ill patients to make their own decisions about when to die, often sparing themselves much suffering in what would have been their final days.
Dr. Joseph Nasca, a pediatrician and leader with a group opposing the measure, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, said he was pleased to hear the bill would not pass.
Nasca said Vermont might want to have a debate about whether there should be a civil right to commit suicide, “but please don’t drag physicians into it.” He said the bill’s provisions allowing patients to request a prescription for a lethal dose of medication from a doctor was “fundamentally inconsistent with medical ethics as we understand it.”