by Kathleen Grange
With regard to Doctor Prescribed Death (House Bill H.274), it is very important for a person to fully understand the consequences of a proposed law and not rely on emotions, especially when death results from the passage of a law. It is also critical to educate oneself on the euthanasia movement throughout the world and throughout the ages and to learn the history of the Hemlock Society. One such book is “Deadly Compassion, The Death of Ann Humphry and the Truth About Euthanasia.” Another way that I used to educate myself was by attending a presentation by the Death with Dignity Vermont group in November 2006. The family physician facilitating the presentation, stated several times that if Vermont passes a bill it will be THE FIRST STEP and may not meet the needs of everyone, but it is THE FIRST STEP. When the family doctor was asked about someone suffering from Alzheimer’s, she responded that the bill as currently written, a person with Alzheimer’s would not be entitled to participate in physician assisted suicide. The family physician then re-stated that the current bill would not help everyone, but it is THE FIRST STEP. At the presentation there were husbands and wives who stated that their children do not agree with their decision to end their lives, so they had to find someone who would carry out their wishes. And since 2006 I continue to read the official State of Oregon reports on Physician Assisted Suicide and also follow the euthanasia movement in this country and across the world. It is shocking to find out who has access to assisted suicide and that no “safeguards” are in place to protect lives.
I hear legislators and people in favor of Doctor Prescribed Death talk about the number of safeguards provided in the current draft of the bill. As we all know, laws can be amended by future legislators, so any number or even all of the “proposed safeguards” in H.274 can be taken away. Currently we have the best safeguard available to protect life in that a physician may not prescribe medication to intentionally cause the death of a person, and H.274 wants to take that safeguard away. And once we introduce the possibility of intentional killing into medical practice, we change the fundamental nature of medicine. Doctor Prescribed Death legislation seeks to transfer private interests or wishes into law; a law that would conflict with the moral natural law. Allowing nature to take its course is not the same as giving doctors the right to kill their patients on demand.
Are there good and bad laws? According to Governor Shumlin, who as Senate President in 2007 engineered the passage of a controversial bill aimed at capping annual increases in education costs, he now says the law should be repealed. In 2008 then Senate President Shumlin even fended off an effort to repeal the law; and according to a newspaper article on March 3, 2011, Gov. Shumlin said he “had a bad idea,” that the law now is unnecessary, and that “it hasn’t worked.” This particular bill has to do with school budgets, but a Doctor Prescribed Death law has to do with causing the death of a person and changing the role of our doctors and pharmacists from caregivers to facilitating a patient’s death. School budgets come and go, but death is final. The American Medical Association, the vast majority of states, and Canada rejects assisted suicide. Let’s not take a bad idea (H.274) and cause the death of even one person in our State of Vermont. Tell your State Representatives and Senators to Vote NO on H.274.
Submitted by: Mrs. Kathleen Grange, Graniteville, VT