Vt. poised to allow lethal meds for terminally ill


MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont is poised to join three other states permitting doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to terminally ill patients after the state House approved a compromise bill similar to Oregon’s 1997 law.

The bill, approved on Monday, now goes before Gov. Peter Shumlin, a strong supporter of the legislation. It marks the first time a state has granted legislative approval to such a measure.

By a 75-65 roll call vote, the House concurred with a Senate version of the bill that largely mirrors the Oregon law for three years and then shifts to a system with less government monitoring.

The vote was a reversal of the defeat of similar legislation in the House in 2007.

Critics continued to voice their concerns during House debate on Monday, while supporters, who knew they had the votes to pass the bill, were more muted.

“There is potential here for abuse of the disabled,” said Rep. Carolyn Branagan, R-Georgia, “especially disabled elders,” she said. “This is not medical care. It is the opposite.”

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