The moment we’ve dreaded but for which we’ve been preparing has now arrived. This afternoon we received the news from Vermont Alliance for Ethical Health Care that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold hearings on S. 103, the bill to legalize assisted suicide (PAS) in Vermont.
We have since spoken with Senator Richard Sears, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who confirmed that on March 14 the committee will hear three hours of testimony on the bill. One hour will allotted to testimony from each of the following three groups: medical professionals, the disability rights community, and proponents of the bill. We do not know whether there will be proponents among the medical professionals and disability rights groups. We do know that no hour has been set aside for ordinary citizens who oppose this bill.
Senator Sears told us that he is leaning towards allowing the bill to come to a vote in the Senate , where he believes it will fail. He admitted that he is holding these hearings, which he recently told Burlington TV station WCAX he had no intention of doing, because he has been under a lot of pressure. It is easy to surmise that this pressure has come from the governor and Senate leadership as well as the extremely well-funded PAS lobby. Imagine the pressure that would be exerted on every Senator if this were to come to a floor vote. We do not want this to happen.
Here is how we can stop this:
• Please go to http://www.leg.state.vt.us/lms/legdir/alpha.asp?Body=S&Session=2012 to find your Senators’ phone numbers and email addresses. Call or email them as soon as possible, letting them know you oppose Senate 103 and that you oppose bringing it to a floor vote. If you are a medical professional, don’t forget to include that impressive RN or MD at the end of your name. Please let us know what kind of response you get from your senators by emailing us at [email protected].
• Please join us in the statehouse on Wednesday, March 14, between 9 AM and noon, to lend support to the opponents of PAS who will be testifying. You will not have to testify yourself. Your presence alone will make a statement. Just ask where the Senate Judiciary hearings are being held, then look for people wearing yellow stickers expressing opposition to assisted suicide. We will be posting directions to the state house soon.
• Join Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare now at www.vaeh.org. Make a contribution if you can possibly afford to. It will be used to defeat this dangerous bill.