End Of Life Debate Decided By Handful Of Senators

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The Vermont Senate voted Tuesday afternoon to advance legislation that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with prescription drugs. A number of senators who were undecided on the issue made up their minds to support it over the weekend.

Essex Orleans senator John Rodgers said he has a policy of respecting the views of his constituents on many social issues and he says a recent survey of voters in his district showed that people supported the bill by a two to one margin.

"To me with the many calls and emails that I’ve had and the results of that survey, I feel comfortable in voting yes and that being the position of the majority of my constituents."

Franklin County senator Don Collins said he had some concerns about the bill but he says he reached a decision to advance it over the weekend.

"People started talking to me about some very personal issues and some stuff that was not publicly discussed much within their family but they just felt hey needed to kind of get it out there and I thought you know it’s not my job up here to tell them they can’t have that choice."

Not all the undecided senators ended up supporting the bill. Washington senator Ann Cummings opposed it.

"I understand and I think I agree the issue that people should make their own decisions but this is asking he state compliance in those decisions and exactly how we do that is still problematic," said Cummings.  "I may end up voting for the final bill depending on what gets amended and what problems get worked out but I’m concerned."

A number of senators want to introduce amendments to the bill and the debate over those proposals will take on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon.




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