VERMONT: H. 168 - Death With Dignity Bill

(Euthanasia )

April 16, 2005 - The Human Services Committee of the Vermont House of Representatives recently held hearings on H. 168, the so-called "Death With Dignity" Bill. No doubt the recent judicial homicide of Terri Schiavo was instrumental in resurrecting this languishing bill. If signed into law, it would allow qualified physicians in Vermont to prescribe medication to kill suicidal terminally-ill patients with less than six months of life expectancy remaining. The Bill, sponsored by Representatives Malcom Severance, William Aswad, and David Zuckerman, reads in part:

"A capable patient who has been determined by the attending physician and consulting physician to be suffering from a terminal condition and who has voluntarily expressed a wish to die may make a written request for medication for the purpose of ending his or her life in a humane and dignified manner in accordance with this chapter."

Apparently death by prescription medication is somehow dignified, and death in God's time is undignified. Man knows better than God how to end a life. I find it interesting that this bill also requires the physician to inform the suicidal patient of potential risks associated with taking the drug prescribed with the purpose of killing the patient. The patient may not want to die if he knows he could suffer from impotence or stomach upset in the seconds leading up to his death. In 5282(6) and (7), the physician is required to advise the patient to notify his or her next of kin, and of the importance of not taking the medication in a public place. After all, if the public witnessed the "dignified" death resulting from this bill, they might not look on it so favorably. If you live in Vermont, contact your state representative and inform them that the most dignified death is that which comes in God's time, not man's. Find and contact your representative here: