With the Vermont state legislature giving the final okay to a bill that would make the state the third to legalize assisted suicide, pro-life groups are asking state residents to call the governor to tell him to veto the bill.
However, there is little chance Peter Shumlin will not sign the bill to make Vermont the third state to legalize assisted suicide, following Oregon and Washington.
The bill “would require a patient to get two physicians to diagnose terminal illness — defined as six months or less to live. The patient would need to be mentally competent, over the age of 18 and able to swallow their own medication. No one else can administer it.”
“The request for lethal medication must be both verbal and written, and there needs to be two witnesses, one of whom can not be a family member,” according to the measure
Passage of the measure came despite opposition from pro-life, Catholic, medical, and disabled rights groups.
“Please call and email Governor Peter Shumlin and urge him to VETO S.77 as passed. This is our final effort,” Vermont Right to Life told its members in an email LIfeNews received today.
The pro-life group added: “Governor Shumlin has always been a supporter of an Oregon-style doctor-prescribed suicide law. But what has been sent to his desk for his signature is a poorly-crafted and dangerous bill that has been described as “facilitating euthanasia.” If Governor Shumlin decides to sign S.77 into law, it will be effective immediately upon his signature. We hope that each of you will remind the Governor that, if he signs S.77 into law, he is ultimately responsible for whatever loopholes were not examined by the usual committee process, for the lack of safeguards, and for any misuse and abuse that can and will occur.”
“The Bill that was passed by the House earlier in the session was drastically changed by the Senate, and made far more dangerous,” the group continued. “Senator Claire Ayer, author of the new Senate version, has admitted that the newly amended S.77 was “made on the fly” and has been repeatedly described by others as a “hodgepodge.” There was no Committee testimony taken on the Bill after the changes were made.”
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“During Senate debate, Senator Peg Flory found an error in the hastily crafted Bill that could have cost the State as much as $200 million dollars a year in Medicare and Medicaid funds. While the section found by Senator Flory was fixed, there is potential for more problems when legislation dealing with life and death is pasted together in the final hours of the session,” VRTL said. “The Senate removed 29 provisions that were part of the Oregon law that were earlier referred to as “protections” by supporters of such laws.”
S.77 goes into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature and no rules will be in place governing assisted suicide in Vermont until developed by the Vermont Department of Health for at least 30 days.
ACTION: E-mail a message to: https://governor.vermont.gov/contact-us/opinion or call 802-828-3333