Vt. lawmakers pass end of life bill - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. lawmakers pass end of life bill

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Some said the newest Senate version of the bill was too different from the original House version and lacked enough control.

 "We need to be sure that people will not be bullied or harassed or sedated or fooled into doing something that they would not otherwise do," said Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington.

Others fear it was hastily crafted by the Senate in order to reach approval before the end of the legislative session, and wanted more time to smooth out the details.

"Frankly I'm a little freaked out that so much has changed in such a short period of time," explained one representative.

But more than half the House opposed any new amendments which would have essentially killed the bill. That's because there wouldn't be enough time to send it back to the Senate for another vote before the end of the session. Many said the two versions had enough similarities.

"Able to self administer, both bills. Informed about end of life choices, both bills. Informed consent, both bills," explained Rep. Linda Waite-Simpson D-Essex.

The end of life bill allows terminally ill Vermonters with six months or less to live to express oral and written consent to take a prescribed lethal dose of medication if they are of sound mind.

The bill also covers doctor's rights. They can opt out of prescribing lethal doses. Hospitals can block doctors from participating and the bill also says doctors are immune from lawsuits.

Governor Peter Shumlin is expected to sign the measure into law.

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