It was a packed Statehouse filled with emotional pleas and personal stories Tuesday night. Hundreds gathered in Montpelier to voice their opinions on the proposed Death with Dignity Act, or what opponents call Physician-Assisted Suicide.
"It is a sad day in Vermont when our lawyers are asking health care professionals to help human beings to die rather than extending compassionate and respectful care to ease pain and suffering," said Lynn Caulfield, a Dummerston resident and registered nurse.
Judy Murphy still mourns the loss of her friend. Who she says starved herself to death. She was terminally ill and suffered for months.
"Not everyone would make that choice to die. But many, including myself, would have great comfort in knowing that that option is possible," said Murphy.
Several opposed to the bill worry that if passed, the definition of suicide could be lost, Guy Page from Barre who asked his son, who has struggled with suicidal thoughts for years, about his view of the bill.
"His response shocked me. Shaking with anger and fear he said 'What hypocrites. Everyday my teachers tell me that killing myself is never an option. But here they are saying that suicide is 'okay'," said Page.
Supporters, like Melinda Moulton of Huntington, argue the decision to keep living lies with the patient alone. "Do we as people really have the right do deny another human being the legal means to end their life if they so choose?" asked Moulton.
Others worry that a wrong diagnosis could end a life too soon. Three doctors told Erika Riel she was going to die. But a fourth doctor in Massachusetts told her she would live to be 80. "The doctors in Vermont made mistakes. They gave me a mistaken diagnosis," said Riel, "if it was that easy for me to get a terminal diagnosis, how many other people are getting wrong diagnoses?"
The committee on health and welfare is planning four days of hearings. A vote could happen Friday. It would still have to pass both the house and senate before arriving on the Governers desk for a signature.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
A trio of gun control measures may have gotten the green light from Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day, but the charter changes face strong opposition across the state, and a possible uphill battle at the Statehouse.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>