Judiciary Committee Votes Down End-of-Life Bill, 3-1

By John Dillon

A key Senate committee has voted against a bill that would give patients with less than six months to live the ability to end their lives with prescription drugs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted down the measure Friday morning, 3-1, with one senator absent.

Judiciary Chairman Dick Sears, D-Bennington, who opposes the bill, said he wouldn’t block the measure from being debated on the Senate floor. That debate could come as early as next Tuesday.

In an unusual move to get the bill before the full Senate, the committee voted with a negative recommendation.

Vermont has emerged as a central battleground in the national end-of-life choices debate, after voters in Massachusetts last year rejected a referendum that would have given terminally ill patients the choice to end their lives.

Governor Peter Shumlin has predicted the Legislature will pass an end-of-life bill this session.

VPR will have more on this story during All Things Considered.

Earlier: Bishop Voices Opposition To End-of-Life Bill

Vermont Edition: The End-of-Life Rights Debate

WBUR’s CommonHealth: What Brought Down Assisted Suicide?