Dear Supporters of VAEH,
Great news to report! After H-44 passed through the House Human Services Committee (7-4) and the House Judiciary Committee (6-4-1), it was taken up on the House floor today, and it was defeated, soundly defeated. There was long and strong debate all afternoon, and the themes that came through repeatedly were: PAS is bad public policy; there are too many unanswered questions; the proposed safeguards are inadequate — all the messages we have been sending. There was hardly any of the “All is well in Oregon” song.
The rollcall vote near the end of the legislative day was 82 No’s and 63 Yes’s. This is truly amazing! Just 3 weeks ago we were estimating that it would probably pass the House, but we thought we had enough votes to sustain a veto. Slowly, over the past 3 weeks, the numbers have gradually shifted, so that by Monday of this week, we thought we might even have enough votes to narrowly defeat the bill. The tide of change continued into this afternoon, and the result — a resounding rejection of this unneeded and dangerous bill.
Do you know what caused this shift? You did.
* By your many letters to the editor of all the newspapers around the
state — THANKS.
* By your phone calls, e-mails, and personal contacts with your
Representatives — THANKS.
* By your generous donations so we could air the radio and TV ads
without going into debt — THANKS.
This means that the issue of physician-assisted suicide is dead in Vermont for the remainder of this biennial legislative session. We fervently hope that the strength of defeat will cause the national DWD folks (or Compassion & Choice, or whatever is their next name change) to realize their money cannot force this unwanted change in Vermont, so that they will not even come back in 2009. That being the case, we would have the time and energy to focus on meeting the needs of terminally ill Vermonters.
Hopefully there will be no need for another VAEH Newsletter for a while. We will try to keep the website up and reasonably current for the next couple of years.
A HUGE thank you to you all.
For the Advisory Board of the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare