November 5, 2010

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Openly Pro-Assisted Suicide Proponent Elected Governor in Vermont

By Mary Hahn Beerworth
Executive Director Vermont Right to Life Committee

Peter Shumlin, the newly elected pro-assisted
suicide governor of Vermont

The situation in Vermont is dire. While most of the country experienced pro-life victories, Vermont, in keeping with its quirky reputation, went in the opposite direction.

The November 2nd general election placed the Legislature and the governorship squarely in the hands of pro-suicide forces. Pro-life Lt. Governor Brian Dubie lost the race for governor by only a few thousand votes. His narrow loss now means Peter Shumlin, an openly pro-abortion, pro-assisted suicide candidate, is now governor-elect.

Shumlin has made it clear in the past that he believes that the issue of assisted suicide is not about pain, but about people who are no longer ""productive." Shumlin vowed throughout the campaign that if elected he would sign a bill to legalize assisted suicide in 2011.

Shumlin publicly stated, "people often confuse this issue with what actually happens. As an example, the person that comes to mind when you talk about this bill is .....(people) in such incredible pain. Turns out that in the state of Oregon, that's not the case. It isn't people who are in extraordinary pain that make this choice. It's people who in the very last weeks of their lives absolutely lose control over their own bodies, their lives, they no longer have the capability to in anyway live with dignity." (Mark Johnson Radio Show 2/22/07)

Within hours of the final results, the Death with Dignity forces announced that they were ready to push their legislation in the early months of the new session which will begin January 4, 2011. Worse yet, they declared new financial support from Oregon Death with Dignity's National Center in Portland to the tune of $100,000.00. Here's the press release:

"Death With Dignity National Center officially announces the next Death with Dignity campaign!

After years of working in collaboration with supporters in Vermont, we're ready to publicly proclaim the high chance of success in the Green Mountain State.

Public opinion polls in Vermont show 82% of the populace supports Death with Dignity; during the last biennium, 68 legislators were willing to sign on as co-sponsors of Death with Dignity legislation.

And as of today, Vermont boasts a new governor-elect, Pete Shumlin, who has repeatedly stated in no uncertain terms he will champion terminally ill patients' rights to decide to die with dignity.

In concrete terms, we are talking about the potential for a Vermont Death with Dignity law in 2011!

Passing Death with Dignity legislation in Vermont couldn't come at a more critical time. Our extensive research and polling demonstrates several states in New England are on the cusp of passing Death with Dignity laws. Passing a new law in 2011 will establish a foothold in New England and set the stage for a successful 2012 ballot initiative campaign.

A new law in Vermont will show it is possible to pass Death with Dignity laws through state legislatures for the 26 states without ballot initiatives or referendums.

To ensure a successful campaign we have committed to contribute $100,000 toward our partnership with Patient Choices at End of Life - Vermont. Will you help us reach our goal by making a non-deductible contribution directly to the Vermont campaign through our Political Action Fund today."

Vermonters who understand the dangers of legalizing assisted suicide are preparing for a fight. In 2007, the legislature defeated a bill to legalize doctor prescribed death - the bill went down to defeat in the House of Representatives on a roll call vote of 63 to 82. It is going to require resources to defeat them this time, and the odds are against us.

Vermonters have always had a "live and let live" attitude toward their neighbors and friends. But we'll soon find out if Vermonters are willing to "live and let doctors prescribe death" for their neighbors and friends.

Stay tuned for updates.

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