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True Dignity Vermont is a grassroots, independent, citizen-led initiative in opposition to assisted suicide in Vermont. Vermonters deserve true dignity and compassion at the end of life, not the abandonment of assisted suicide. Killing is not compassion, and True Dignity Vermont will work to ensure our end-of-life choices respect the dignity of all Vermont citizens.

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We can find absolutely no press coverage of this, but the legislative session ended yesterday with no assisted suicide bill’s having been adopted.  Another state declines to take the Brittany Maynard bait!

Here’s a link to the news, from Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.



Here’s the Sacramento Bee story.  http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article23113641.html.

Can this be defeated in the CA Assembly?  If not, will Governor Jerry Brown veto it?

If this bill passes, California will be the second state, after Vermont, to legalize assisted suicide through legislative action.

SB. 128, the CA assisted suicide bill that appeared to have died last week, as been resurrected in the CA Senate.  The debate and a possible vote will take place tomorrow.  True Dignity urges everyone to contact the following legislators:

[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]’.

[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected][email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]'; ‘[email protected]

If you are not a Californian be upfront about that.  Say that your own state and you as an individual will be impacted by the passage of this bill in any other state.  Ask the senators to vote against SB 128, because no number of safeguards can prevent error or abuse, which in the case of death are irremediable and in the case of purposely caused death are inexcusable.  Assisted suicide is terrible public policy.

Keep it short and simple.  Do not write about religion, because the proponents of assisted suicide are very skillful at pretending that opposition is only from religious people trying to impose their  views on everyone.  You can choose to make one of the following points:

1. This bill, which is based on the premise that suicide is an OK solution to some problems,  will likely result, through the phenomenon of suicide contagion, in an increase in the rate of non-assisted suicide.  In Oregon, the general suicide rate, which had been going down throughout the nineties, began to rise right after legalization of assisted suicide and has continued to rise.  According to some reports, Oregon has the second highest non-assisted suicide rate in the country.

2. This bill is a recipe for elder abuse.  Even if it required witnesses at the time of ingestion of the drugs, which it does not, that would not prevent pressure from relatives and caregivers.

3. This bill is really about horror of disability and threatens people with disability.  Very few Oregonians get drugs to commit suicide because they fear pain.  Instead they cite loss of autonomy, loss of the ability to do enjoyable things, and being a burden to their families.  Doctors often share the attitude that life is not worth living if a person cannot take care of himself, and they communicate it to their disabled patients by offering comfort care when lifesaving care is appropriate.  The very offer of comfort care rather than treatment is pressure.  “Futility” and “potentially inappropriate treatment” are increasingly being used to justify the denial of care a patient and his surrogate want.  Cost saving is the mantra in health care and every other part of the economy.  Introducing assisted suicide into this poisonous environment is insanity.  It will not only threaten the morale of people with disabilities but the services they need simply to survive.

4.  This bill discriminates against the poor.  The rich can get the best medical care, regardless of cost.  In Oregon, the poor have already been steered to assisted suicide by having their wanted and prescribed treatment denied by Medicaid.  Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup received letters denying coverage for their chemotherapy and offering coverage for assisted suicide among the alternatives.  We hear that Oregon no longer sends those letters, but it still denies coverage for treatment and offers coverage for assisted suicide.  The poor are still being steered towards suicide.

5. This bill will result in the death of people whose prognoses are incorrect, who will reject treatment, or for whom a cure might have been discovered.  Jeanette Hall is alive and well more than a decade after being given a terminal diagnosis and after asking her doctor to help her use the Oregon assisted suicide law.  Fortunately he persuaded her to accept treatment instead.

6.  This bill will offer people with treatable depression, the most common cause of suicide, help with suicide rather than suicide prevention.  Studies show that depression in terminally ill people can be successfully treated.

SB 128 is probably going to the Senate floor only because proponents think they have the votes.  The other side is certainly flooding Senators mailboxes with calls for the bills passage.  We need to do the same thing in opposition.  Please do this.  You can make a difference.


There are still more legislators in this world than not who refuse to rush in where angels fear to tread.


Though nothing is certain at this point, Aaron Kheriaty, a psychiatrist and medical ethicist from the University of California at Irvine who is closely following the assisted suicide bill in California , writes in an article posted on the Wall Street Journal website last night that the bill’s recent placement on a Senate committee’s “suspense list” is a sign that it has bogged down.  If this proves to be true, the defeat of assisted suicide in a state where Compassion and Choices has budgeted $22 million to get it passed and where Brittany Maynard, through a posthumously aired video, was among the first to testify in favor of legalizing assisted suicide, will be the best news we’ve heard this year, proving once again that Oregon, Washington, and Vermont are true outliers, not in the sense of blazing a path for others but in the sense of going down a road that nobody else, after reviewing the information about it, is willing to follow.  California was widely expected to legalize assisted suicide this year.

The article also pointed out a fact that was new to us; Belgium and Switzerland, which are among the few European countries where assisted suicide is legal, rank first and second in general suicide rates in Europe.  This information is consistent with the strong correlation between assisted suicide and a rise in general suicide rates in Oregon, a rise that is consistent with the phenomenon of suicide contagion.  Causation can never ethically be proven, since that would require creating a control group that is not exposed to media glamorization of suicide and comparing it to a group that is, but the mere existence of what appear to be copycat suicides and suicide clusters, where causation can also not be proven, has been used as the basis for preventive actions like sending counselors into a school where a student has committed suicide.  Studies should be conducted in Washington and VT, where assisted suicide is just getting underway, to at least discover whether the correlation between legal assisted suicide and a rise in general suicide rates holds for other states besides Oregon; in Vermont, proposals to set up such studies have been rejected by the currently sitting legislature, which seems completely committed to its see no evil stance on assisted suicide.

Anyhow, good news is good news.  Let’s hope it’s not transient good news.  A lot of people are working on this.  Let’s be vigilant and support them in any small way we can.  More to come.

Here’s the link:


To read the full article online, you will need an expensive subscription. Or buy today’s paper edition at a newstand; the article is on page A9.

Today, Governor Peter Shumlin signed S. 108 into law, on the second anniversary of the implementation of Act 39, Vermont’s law legalizing physician-assisted suicide.  That he did so was, sadly,  no surprise.

In a news media release, the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare (VAEH) had this to say:

S. 108 makes a pretense of keeping assisted suicide safeguards and protections from expiring when in reality any meaningful provisions were stripped out of the original legislation in a rush to passage in the final days of the 2013 legislative session.   

The Vermont Department of Health has no information about how the law is actually working.  Harry Chen testified, that beyond the number of prescriptions written, “any other information in terms of how many people took it, how many people were prescribed is really anecdotal and could certainly not be reported as true from my perspective.”  (Testimony on S. 108 before the Senate Health and Welfare Committee, 2/18/15.)

After relating that a resident of a local care home, who was not terminally-ill, had been approached about assisted suicide over a dozen times in one year, it became clear to Rep. Anne Donahue of Northfield that pro-assisted suicide organizations in the State are aggressively promoting that health care workers have a legal obligation to inform patients about assisted suicide, even if their patients do not inquire about it.

“It is a myth that doctors and other providers do not have to participate if they do not want to. And it is a myth that patients are not being pressured to consider using a prescription,” Rep. Anne Donahue said during floor debate on S. 108. 

“It was irresponsible two years ago when lawmakers passed this dangerous and poorly crafted law,” said Edward Mahoney, President of the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare, “and it is even more irresponsible for those same lawmakers to pretend that Vermonters are better protected by passage of S. 108.”   

“As we predicted in 2013, the so-called “choice to die” has turned into “pressure to die,” Mahoney said. “And, in the concept of voluntary participation on the part of patients and health care providers has fallen by the wayside.”

True Dignity will continue to maintain the abuse hotline that we established in 2013 for Vermonters who wish to report situations of abuse and coercion. The number to call is 1-855-STP-KILL (1-855-787-5455 )



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