Dear VAEH Supporter:
Things are moving fast with H-44 in Montpelier. The House Human Services
Committee held both public and invited hearings last week. I was very
pleased with the turnout at the public hearing (the “yellow stickers”
outnumbered the “green stickers” by 2 to 1) and with the testimony. Thanks
to all of you who gave up your time to be there and especially to those of
you who provided your perspectives. I am sorry that time constraints
prevented some of you from testifying. I understand the invited hearings
were also powerful; unfortunately, I had to be out of state and missed most
of those sessions. As you no doubt know, the Committee stayed until 10 on
Thursday evening to finalize their deliberations. They voted 7 to 4 to
support H-44. Though disappointing, support was expected. In fact, our
pre-vote tally suggested it might pass 8 to 3, so all of our work changed
the mind of at least one committee member.
The House Judiciary Committee will likely discuss H-44 right after this
week’s break. As I understand it, their task is not to debate the substance
of the bill, but rather to see if it conflicts with any current Vermont
statutes. If they pass it, as is expected, the bill then goes to the House
floor for a vote. This could happen as early as next Wednesday, or it could
be delayed by several days. But this vote House is critical. If it can be
defeated here, the bill will be dead. And there is no reason we cannot see
that it is defeated. One Representative told a colleague of mine last week
that he had heard from many constitutents on the PAS issue and the sentiment
was solidly against legalization of physician-assisted suicide for
Vermonters (contrary to the biased poll results). This moved him off the
fence on this issue, so he will vote against it. Thus I ask you once again
to contact your local Representative, saying you strongly oppose passage of
H-44. You can give reasons if you want (its not needed; it is dangerous;
too many unanswered questions), but mainly tell your Representative you want
him or her to vote NO on H-44. You can do this by phone, e-mail, regular
mail, or in person. Contact information can be found at:
The Vermont Alliance has been busy on several fronts:
* Our part-time lobbyist has been present at the Statehouse daily,
educating our legislators.
* We have produced several half-page size handouts giving examples of
abuses of Physician-Assisted Suicide in Oregon, examples that have not been
reported in the official data. These informational pieces have been placed
in each legislator’s mailbox at the Statehouse every other day. More of
these to come.
* I hope you have heard our radio ads raising unanswered questions
that should give pause to Vermonters and to our legislators.
* We finished work today on TV ads that should begin to air on 4
channels on Friday of this week.
* Three or four other organizations with whom we have been working
have also asked their constituents to contact their legislators.
We can defeat the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in Vermont —
with your help.
Sincerely and thankfully, Bob Orr, president, VAEH
E-mail: [email protected]