Monday, January 24, 2011

Vermont government being pressured by out-of-state suicide lobby to legalize assisted suicide.

I was reading my assisted suicide google alerts and I came across a letter to the Vermont Rutland Herald concerning the money that the (Oregon) Death With Dignity Political Action Fund is spending to pressure the Vermont government to legalize assisted suicide. I have already written about this issue in the past.

The letter from Meg Barnes from Shoreham Vermont (January 19)entitled "Using Vermont to push agenda" stated:
An out-of-state group has targeted Vermont for a new law with life-or-death consequences for vulnerable Vermonters.

In an e-mail sent to supporters in early December, Peg Sandeen of the Oregon Death With Dignity Political Action Fund described how she had visited Vermont and met with Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin and strategized with lobbyists. Sandeen assured her readers, “Vermont will be the next state with a Death with Dignity law. Every element is in place. Every player has a plan of action. Every commitment has been fulfilled.”

This commitment includes the Oregon-based group’s donation of $100,000. That’s where the money for the ads and lobbyists will come from. This out-of-state organization with a strong ideological agenda is pulling strings and pushing buttons to make Vermont the “first.” No other state legislature has ever passed a doctor-prescribed death law. Vermont is their laboratory, and we are the rats. And like many experiments using rats, the consequence is life or death. In Oregon, the state medical insurance organization has twice told terminally ill patients it would not fund approved, life-extending treatment, because it is too expensive, but would pay for lethal drugs. Do we trust insurers to always put patients first? It hasn’t worked out that way in Oregon.

Like most Vermonters, I do not know exactly what elements are in place, which players have a plan of action, and what commitments have been fulfilled. I do know our Legislature must put the whole needs of the patient first and foremost; that is the only “commitment” that must be “fulfilled.” Insurance abuse is real. Misdiagnosis is real. Family pressure is real. Rare, maybe, but real. All these factors and more can lead to unwanted, unnecessary death if lethal drugs are legalized. I ask my fellow voters to join me in telling legislators that we don’t support any law that risks the lives of terminally ill Vermonters.

Vermonters need to realize that the Oregon based Death With Dignity Action Fund first facilitated donations to help Peter Shumlin become elected Governor of Vermont.

Now the Death With Dignity Action Fund is spending money to pressure the Vermont legislature to support assisted suicide. They realize that Vermont is a small state and it is less expensive to pay for a campaign in Vermont than in a much larger state.

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