Legislation

Roll call of Senate Vote

We want to thank all who stood strong and fought hard for Repeal of this disgraceful law. You have our admiration for standing up to protect patient’s rights to life and freedom from abuse, errors and outright coercion.

The Amendment to Repeal Act 39 entirely was sponsored by Senator Norm McAllister, who made an emotional and powerful speech on the Senate floor. The Repeal movement wants to especially thank Senator McAllister, Senator Peg Flory and Senator Dick Sears for their efforts to overturn the law and protect patients.

The vote to repeal failed 12-18, with 3 who deserted their previous votes against Assisted Suicide, swapped sides and voted FOR Assisted Suicide:

  1. Senator Ann Cummings, Washington County,
  2. Senator Bill Doyle, Washington County
  3. Senator Nitka, Windsor County.

Here is the full roll call:

Those Senators who voted in the affirmative [for repeal] were:

Benning, Campbell, Collamore, Degree, Flory, Kitchel, Mazza, McAllister, Mullin, Sears, Starr, Westman.

 

Those Senators who voted in the negative [against repeal] were:

Ashe, Ayer, Balint, Baruth, Bray, Campion, Cummings, Doyle, Lyons, MacDonald, McCormack, Nitka, Pollina, Rodgers, Sirotkin, Snelling, White, Zuckerman

 

The debate on the Assisted Suicide law now goes to the House of Representatives.

Please call your senators, and thank those who voted for Repeal of Assisted suicide in Vermont. And don’t forget to include Senators McAllister, Sears and Flory amongst your thank yous.

We will keep you updated on the bill.

Talk to your senators during Town Meeting

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Your Senators need to hear from you during town meeting week.

Thanks in part to you, the Senate voted last week to postpone a vote on a bill related to Act 39, the law that legalized doctor-prescribed suicide, until Wednesday, March 11th. Your Senators are home all of this week for Town Meeting Day and to spend time listening to constituent concerns. Now is the time to call, write or email your Senators at home and urge them to vote to Repeal Act 39 entirely. 

If you are attending your local Town Meeting, try to speak politely to your Senators in person. If you are or are not attending your Town Meeting, please make every effort to contact Senators this week at home. It is important that you say “Repeal the ENTIRE Assisted Suicide law.”

The Pro-Suicide groups will take this break to push their agenda, and we need to continue to show that Vermonters do not want this law.

Please read and follow this closely:

  1. First go to http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/ and get the Home Phone numbers for your senators.
  2. Then give them each a polite call at their home number.
  3. You will most likely be asked to give your name and town.
  4. Politely ask your Senators to “Repeal Act 39 ENTIRELY.  Assisted Suicide is not healthcare.”

After you have called

Send this post to all your friends! And share it on Social Media!

Send your legislator a nice letter.
Send emails individually to your Senators

These are less effective than a call but can help support Senators in their Repeal decision. And remember everyone likes to get an old-fashioned letter! You can find their home mailing addresses and emails at http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/

Thank you for your help Repealing this Bad Law!

Urgent! Call your Senators today!

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We need you to take URGENT action!

Act 39 is expected to get a vote on the Senate floor at 1 pm Thursday (2/26). And the vote will be very close! We need you to call your Senators at the Statehouse today (Wednesday, 2/25) or early morning Thursday. So there is no time to wait!

The Pro-Suicide groups have already started their calls, and we need to make calls to show that Vermonters do not want this law.

Please read and follow this closely:

  1. First go to http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/ and get the names of all your Senators.
  2. Politely call the Sergeant at Arms at the State House:
    1. 802-828-2228 or 800-322-5616
    2. You may get a busy signal, but please keep trying.
  3. You will be asked to give your name and town.
  4. Politely ask for the following message to be delivered to your Senators. The message is “Repeal Act 39 entirely.  Assisted Suicide is not healthcare.”
  5. It is important that you leave a message for each Senator by name.

After you have called

Send this post to all your friends!

And share it on Social Media!
Send emails individually to your Senators
This is less effective than a call but can help support Senators in their Repeal decision. You can find their emails through http://legislature.vermont.gov/people/

Thank you for your help Repealing this Bad Law!

Supreme Court rules 9-0 that sidewalk abortion clinic buffer zones violate free speech

Supreme Court  unanimous against abortion buffer zones
photo from life news article below

In a unanimous decision the supreme court declared buffer zones like the one in Massachusetts to be illegal.  The 35 foot buffer zone that the Burlington Vermont City Council was based upon the Massachusetts case.  This is great news for free speech and those pro-lifers who stand weekly at abortion clinics.

“While the ruling is great news for the free speech of anti-abortion advocates, this isn’t about us……(s)idewalk counselors can’t stop women from having abortions, but they can offer information, resources, and just a listening ear  to those young women who feel desperate and alone,” stated Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life of America.

http://www.lifenews.com/2014/06/26/supreme-court-unanimously-rules-pro-lifers-have-free-speech-at-abortion-clinics/

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/27/us/supreme-court-abortion-clinic-protests.html

Abortion in Vermont

Bill S. 315, An Act Relating to Repealing the Unconstitutional Statutes Relating to Abortion was signed into law today at Planned Parenthood’s headquarters in Burlington.

All S. 315 does is remove the old and unenforceable abortion provisions enacted in 1846 from Vermont Statutes. The legislation will have no effect on the current legal status of abortion in Vermont.  In Vermont, it is legal to perform an abortion at any point throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy for any reason.  Planned Parenthood of Vermont is the largest provider of abortions in the State, performing up to 90% of the approximately 1,300 abortions done annually. The organization makes extensive use of non-physicians (nurse practitioners, nurse mid-wives, etc.) to perform abortions, both surgical and chemical, on their premises.  Planned Parenthood’s Action Fund was recently fined $30,000 for violating campaign finance laws in their effort to defeat Brian Dubie in the 2010 election cycle. Planned Parenthood of Vermont is the sole recipient of $1.5 million in Federal Title X grants annually and also receives $300,000 from VT’s General Fund each year.

Current Status of Abortion in Vermont

  • There is no law limiting how late in pregnancy an abortion may be performed.
  • No law requiring abortion clinics to notify at least one parent of a minor before performing an abortion, surgical or chemical.
  • No law requiring that the abortions are performed by a medical doctor. Non-physicians routinely perform abortions in Planned Parenthood’s Vermont clinics.
  • No anesthesia for the unborn baby is offered, or required to be offered, no matter how late in pregnancy an abortion is performed.
  • No law requiring that alternatives to abortion be discussed before an abortion is performed.
  • No law requiring that abortions be prohibited after an unborn child can feel pain (approximately 20 weeks gestation).
  • No law that requires abortion clinics to be licensed, regulated, or required to maintain minimum health and safety standards.

Current Status of Unborn Children in Vermont

  • No law in Vermont recognizes the humanity of an unborn child in Vermont even though science and technology indisputably demonstrate that fact.  While 38 states have enacted Fetal Homicide legislation to hold criminals who cause the death of an unborn child accountable, Vermont has not done so.  There have been several recent cases involving the father of an unborn baby who demands that his girlfriend have an abortion, and despite her refusal, went on to cause the death of the unborn baby either through physical abuse or by adding abortion drugs to her food or drink.* Similarly, a drunk or otherwise impaired driver who causes an accident that results in pregnancy loss cannot be prosecuted for the death of an unborn child in Vermont unless the accident occurred on federal property (see www.benningtonbabies.com).

*John Andrew Welden, of Florida, is heading to prison for 14 years after he tricked his pregnant girlfriend, Remee Lee, into taking a drug, misoprostol, to cause an abortion. Lee was six weeks pregnant and refused to have an abortion as Welden had demanded. Authorities say that 28-year-old John Andrew Welden did not want to be a father, so when his girlfriend, Remee Jo Lee, got pregnant, Welden faked a prescription for an abortion pill, switched a label so the medication appeared to be a common antibiotic, and gave her the drug. The drug did its job. The unborn baby died.

‘Death with Dignity Act’ finds little support in NH House

CONCORD — The House Thursday soundly rejected legislation that would have allowed a terminally ill patient to seek a lethal prescription from cooperating physicians.

Under House Bill 1325, the “Death with Dignity Act,” the patient must have received a prognosis of six months or less to live by two physicians. The vote against the bill was 219-66.

Read more at the New Hampsire Union Leader: http://www.unionleader.com/article/20140306/NEWS0621/140309414

Take Action! Ask your Legislators to support the Moratorium!

Ask your legislators at your town meeting to support the Moratorium on Assisted Suicide. VAEH has been quite vocal in this “Legislative Malpractice” and has called for repeal since it was enacted law.
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Join the fight to protect the lives of the elderly, disabled, sick and weakest amongst us by:

  1. Calling your State Senators and Representatives at home this week. Ask them to support the Moratorium on Assisted Suicide.
  2. Email them if you can’t get ahold of them by phone. And ask them to support the Moratorium on Assisted Suicide.
  3. GO TO TOWN MEETING DAY! And ask them to support the Moratorium on Assisted Suicide! Bring this flyer with you for a quick reference!

Resources:

Assisted suicide flyer text:

ACT 39- ASSISTED SUICIDE:
• Does NOT provide immunity for nurses, pharmacists and others involved.
• Does NOT provide immunity for health care facilities.
• Does NOT require a patient to have “capacity.”
• Does NOT require that a patient be “capable” at the time of ingestion.
• Does NOT require a patient to self-administer the lethal dose.
• Does NOT require State oversight.
• Does NOT require collection of data.
• Does NOT track lethal prescriptions.
• Does NOT require annual reports.
• Does NOT have adequate rules for safe disposal of lethal drugs.
• Does NOT have provisions to investigate allegations of abuse.
• Does NOT require a disinterested witness be present at time of ingestion to verify that the patient is not under duress.
• Does NOT require a physician or health care professional to be present.
• Does NOT require that family be notified.
• Does NOT protect physicians from a duty to inform terminally-ill patients of the lethal dose option even if it is premature, does not fit the standard of care, is clinically inappropriate, or violates a physician’s ethics.
• Does NOT require that a patient be a Vermont resident.
• Does NOT allow the physician prescribing the lethal drug to contact the patient’s primary physician unless the patient gives consent.
• Does NOT bar a guardian or agent from making the request for the lethal drugs.

VAEH and VCIL call for Assisted Suicide Moratorium

VAEH Press Conference
Today (Thursday, February 27th ), the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare (VAEH) held a joint press conference with the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL) in the Cedar Creek Room at the State House at 1:00pm, on the subject of Act 39, the law that narrowly passed last spring legalizing assisted suicide.

It is widely understood that Act 39 lacks numerous protections. VAEH and VCIL called for House and Senate leadership, along with the Executive Branch, to take the responsible course of action and place a moratorium, effective immediately, on Act 39.

Spokespersons from both organizations took questions from the media .

Here’s a video spot from VAEH

Doctor-Prescribed Suicide Law Is “Fatally Flawed” Vermont Organizations Call for Repeal

Vermont Right to Life will join with the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare and True Dignity Vermont in calling for the repeal of Act 39, the law that has legalized doctor-prescribed suicide.  Here are some of the reasons why Act 39 must be repealed and how it could be accomplished.

Legislation to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide struggled for passage in both the House and Senate throughout the 2013 session despite the super-majority of left-leaning legislators who currently serve. It was only after 19 roll call votes and backroom deal-making by powerful political leaders in the final hours of the session that the legislation narrowly passed in both the House and Senate.  No other legislation came as close to defeat the entire year due largely to pro-lifers who called, emailed and came to the State House to express their opposition.  In the end, we fell short of defeating the bill by just two votes in the Senate out of 30 members, and a mere 6 votes in the House out of 140 in attendance.   If a handful of seats are changed in the 2014 elections, there could be an opportunity to successfully repeal the law.

Because the final draft of the law was hastily crafted, important components were stripped out that would have shielded health care providers and facilities from legal ramifications and a number of other components that are contained in both the Oregon and Washington doctor-prescribed suicide laws.

Deficiencies in the law include:

1)      No government agency was assigned to oversee the law and supervise implementation.

2)      Vermont residency is not clearly defined under the law which means that it is basically up to the doctor to determine who is eligible – so Vermont could well become the Sweden of the East Coast (Sweden allows anyone to come to their country solely to access the drugs and commit suicide.)

3)      Doctors are not required to use the form developed by the VT Department of Health for reporting information about prescriptions or anything else so there is no uniformity of data gathering.

4)      For disposal of unused lethal doses, the FDA guidelines are referenced which advocate flushing the drugs into the sewage systems and potentially getting into groundwater.  One can only hope that the drugs are not used by a family member experiencing depression or contemplating suicide.

5)      Participation by doctors is supposed to be voluntary but also require the physician to make a referral and ensure that the patient is getting information about the option of a lethal dose.  So, even if your physician is opposed to doctor-prescribed suicide he has to participate to a large degree – and the patient loses their primary doctor just as he or she is coping with a terminal illness.

6)      Provisions meant to protect pharmacists from liability should something go wrong were stripped out of the final legislation in the mad rush to passage.  Physicians who write prescriptions are provided immunity, but pharmacists are not – and the drugs fail in at least 20% of all those who take the lethal dose.

7)      All the resources listed on the Department of Health website are those that promote doctor-prescribed suicide, so patients never hear any of the negative information or important facts about using a lethal dose to end their lives.

As this edition of the REVIEW goes to print, not a single Vermonter has ended his or her own life under Act 39.

Representative Duncan Kilmartin, a legislator from Newport, Vermont and an attorney summed the situation up this way at a recent forum on Act 39, “This law was so poorly written that no physician should ever write a prescription, no pharmacist should ever fill the prescription and no health care facility should ever engage in allowing such a practice on their premises.”

The Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare ran a series of television ads calling for repeal of Act 39 and criticizing the Legislature for playing politics with people’s lives.  You can view the ad at www.vaeh.org and click on the link for “New Video.”