NECN.com (With a great quote from Mary Hahn Beerworth)
Opponents of the law fear it will open the floodgates to elder abuse and send a message that Vermont is a state that doesn’t value life.
“I think it’s a sad day,” said Mary Hahn Beerworth of the Vt. Right to Life Committee. “The only thing that’s historic today is that the Governor, the Speaker of the House, and [chair of the V.T. Senate Health and Welfare Committee] Senator Claire Ayer colluded to commit legislative malpractice.”
Another group opposing the legislation is True Dignity Vermont, which calls itself a watchdog organization. It has launched a toll-free hotline at 1-855-787-5455, asking Vermonters to report suspected cases of patients being pressured or influenced into taking lethal doses of drugs.
(NOTE: The below article from Reuters misidentifies Edward Mahoney as president of True Dignity VT. He is a member of Vermont Alliance for Ethical Health care. A group that we have worked with to fight against this horrible law. Also, we are run by a board. We’ve submitted a correction to Reuters.)
Opponents warn that measures allowing it may encourage people to take their own lives at the behest of potential heirs or because they fear they are imposing a burden on family.
True Dignity Vermont, a group that opposed the Vermont law, said it would work with a network of health care providers to help support alternatives to the terminally ill.
“We now have state-sanctioned suicide in Vermont,” said Edward Mahoney, president of the group, in a statement. “If the state won’t protect Vermonters, we will try.”
USA TODAY/ Burlington Free Press quotes two of our board members: Carolyn McMurray and Carrie Handy:
“We’re here as witnesses,” said opponent Carolyn McMurray of Arlington, Vt., part of a group called True Dignity Vermont that is starting a hotline and encouraging people to report abuses of the law. “We believe this bill was drafted hastily.”
Opponents argue that it is suicide.
Carrie Handy of St. Albans, Vt., a member of True Dignity, said her group is looking to help anyone who feels they or someone they know is being coerced into hastening their own deaths. That was among the leading concerns of opponents of the law.
“We would have liked to defeat the legislation,” said Handy. “Now that it’s been enacted we feel our role needs to be for the time being serving as a watchdog organization. We do feel this legislation puts vulnerable people at risk.”
Handy also said she sees the legislation as unnecessary. She said she watched her father-in-law and mother-in-law die and her mother is now in hospice care. In all of those situations, their pain was managed and the time they spent with family and friends at the end of life was relished, she said.
But those who oppose the law say it lacks strict oversight once a person fills the prescription. “We vigorously oppose this bill and we did everything in our power to keep it from being enacted,” said Carolyn McMurray with the group True Dignity Vermont.
McMurray says her group is transitioning from lobbyists to watch dogs now that the bill has become law. “We have setup a hotline to receive reports of abuse, either from people who are afraid themselves or who know somebody they think is being abused,” she said.
RT.com/Politico Article (recent though not from today carries a quote from another Board Member Gerald McMurray)
“This, in our opinion, is a terrible thing to have happen to our state… because it sort of sanctions suicide as a way of dealing with many end-of-life health care issues,” Gerald McMurray, a board member at True Dignity Vermont, told Politico. The organization describes itself as a citizen-led, grassroots initiative in opposition to assisted suicide in Vermont.
The Roman Catholic Dioceses of Burlington has also called on Vermont residents to urge the bill’s defeat before lawmakers voted on it Monday.
“Physician-assisted suicide will forever transform the role of physician from the one who preserves life to one who takes life,” the dioceses told the WSJ.
http://rt.com/usa/vermont-assited-suicide-bill-398/ (quotes from Politico and includes the Diocese of Burlington section whereas politico.com does not)
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/vermont-approves-assisted-suicide-legislation-91368.html (source for the RT article)