To the editor: VT lawmakers should not pass physician assisted suicide

Editor’s note: Here’s a link to the latest story on this issue from

Passing S77, physician assisted suicide (misnamed “Patient Choice”) and calling suicide a legal medical treatment takes away patient choice from far many more Vermonters than it gives to those few who want to require others to bless and participate in the suicide option already available to them without this law.

The very rich Hemlock Society (pro-eugenics and pro-euthanasia), known for bankrolling the campaigns of its promoters, has changed its name to Compassion & Choice and seems to have found a seat in each chamber of our Legislature.

It’s not enough for these necromancers that suicide is not a crime in Vermont. However, if they have their way, it will become a medical procedure and insurance companies in Vermont, like those in the state of Washington have already done, will be able to tell us, when we need healing or palliative care, that these are too expensive but they are willing to pay for physician assisted suicide. In Washington, they’ve told us the value of life … just $75 – $100. How much is life worth in Vermont?

Soon, our legislature will be voting on Gov. Peter Shumlin’s Single Payer Health Plan; soon we will be dealing with President Obama’s Universal Health Care, which requires an Independent Payment Advisory Board of 18 individuals to decide on the efficiency and economy of every treatment option for every patient. If this board deems that there is a more economical treatment for a given patient than that which the patient and doctor agree is the one needed to preserve health or life of that patient, there will be no recourse. The doctor will not be allowed to proceed with the treatment without losing his practice and the patient will not be able to purchase it even with his own money.

If S77 becomes a legal medical treatment option in the state of Vermont, then we can be sure that the Independent Payment Advisory Board will see that this is the most “efficient” treatment option for Vermonters and the only one that the board will allow.

Already, thousands of cancer patients have been put at risk due to the 2 percent cut in spending for chemotherapy drugs that has been imposed on cancer clinics. If this had been done to me when I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, Stage 4, eight months to live, 25 years ago, I would have died 24 years ago.

Please read the article below and reflect on how even more devastating this will be to patients who hale from a state in which physician assisted suicide is a state sanctioned medical procedure.

If you think I’m being unreasonable because this is too unthinkable to consider, think again. Many of us think that way about S77; yet our senators and representatives are considering it as legislation to be imposed on all of us. They have spent much of this legislative session considering the unreasonable and the unthinkable.

Please, contact your representatives and tell them you don’t want them passing any laws that would allow insurance companies to take away our health care and replace it with death.

S77 should not be passed in any form.

Clara Schoppe
St. Johnsbury


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  1. Steve says:

    Someone needs to research the costs that terminal patients incur statistically in their last 6 months as well as the financial costs to their loved ones. No, I’m not ‘death panel’ advocate. But yes, I’ve listened to enough stories to realize death can be a choice.

  2. Richard Pease-Grant says:

    Well said. Amen!!

  3. Wayne says:

    Wait. I guess I’m really confused. Please enlighten me. How does a proposal that would rule that a doctor could discuss with a patient who is about to die a way to end their life with a prescription instead of suffering through a painful death suddenly became a mandate of anything by the government?

    What’s confusing for me is, I see nowhere in the bill about this being either a mandatory option for the doctor, or even an option the doctor or insurance agency can even bring up. You say in your editorial that “It’s not enough for these necromancers that suicide is not a crime in Vermont.” Would you like it to be? Exactly how would a law like this be better for anyone? Only two states have crimes against suicide. Either you go through with it and kill yourself and you can be labeled as a … posthumous criminal? Or you try and fail, which is a cry for help, and you would like them to then label them a criminal and lock them up? I’m sure they would appreciate it.

    You also say “contact your representatives and tell them you don’t want them passing any laws that would allow insurance companies to take away our health care and replace it with death.” An ignorant statement considering that:

    1. That’s not what the bill is saying, so to say this to your representative would be a moot point. How about a simple law saying that insurance companies can’t take away our health care, period!

    2. Insurance companies are already doing this every single day. They can simply deny you the opportunity for a test or a procedure. People, (let’s say the ones that only watch one television news station for all their “news,”) are in a panic stating they don’t want a bureaucrat between them and their doctor, and the only decisions about their healthcare should be made by them and their doctor. This however, is ridiculous. There already is a bureaucracy between you and your doctor. It’s the insurance agency. And they can change and do pretty much whatever they want to do. They think a new cancer treatment is too costly? Denied. They think an X-ray will be just as good as an MRI, though the doctor thinks otherwise? Too bad. Yet somehow this is OK?

    Finally 3, And Most Importantly!: Do you have any idea of what S77 even says? Have you even read the bill? I would suggest everyone reading this don’t take my word for it. And please, please don’t take the word of what one website says, especially if that website has an agenda! (Or a slant one way or the other be it liberal or conservative.)

    Basically, S77 says that you have a right to ask your doctor for medication that can hasten your death. If you do so, you have to be proved competent to have asked that question. You have to have a second opinion on your prognosis. The doctor has the right to not be involved and opt out of your decision. And finally, immunity for the doctor and yourself if you go through with it.
    That’s it in a nutshell. Simple immunity. Nothing about forcing assisted suicide, just immunity if someone does it and your aware and there. Again, don’t listen to me, look it up yourself.