Vermont Legislature kills bill to legalize assisted suicide

In a victory for life in a state not known for its conservatism, the Vermont legislature decided that the bill to legalize assisted suicide would not be coming out of the Senate Judiciary Committee this session. According to, the defeat came about in part because the state’s Lieutenant Governor, Phil Scott, changed his position about supporting legalization:

[Lt. Governor Phil] Scott supported “right to die” bill when it was last before lawmakers in 2004. He was even a co-sponsor. No longer. “I’ve changed my thinking a bit,” Scott told News Channel Five, and then quietly shares a family story. His late father, Howard, served in World War Two and was severely injured in the June, 1944 invasion at Normandy. Both is his legs had to be amputated. Howard was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center outside Washington. “During that time he contracted hepatitis, the prognosis wasn’t good,” said Scott. “In fact, one of the Western Union messages I’ve since read) said ‘It doesn’t look good for Howard.’ They urged my Gram to come to Washington to see him. They didn’t think he was going to make it.”

Scott has thought a lot about all that might have been different had his Dad utilized the option now before the state Legislature. “I thought about his life and all he’d done and all the pain and suffering he must have gone through during that period of time and had they asked him at that point, ‘Do you want to end your life?’ You know I am not sure what he would have done but had he done so, of course, the result is evident. I wouldn’t be here now.” Howard Scott recovered and returned home to Barre to raise a family. He died in 1969 when Phil was 11. The lieutenant governor said he has “firmly made up his mind” to vote ‘no’ on the end of life bill should he have the chance.

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