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Survey Says: Physician-Assisted Suicide Not A Priority For Vermonters

December 7, 2011

In a recent survey (conducted by Smith Johnson Research) of 400 registered voters in Vermont, 71 percent indicated that the issue of physician-assisted suicide should not be a priority in our Legislature this year. Although it may appear that physician-assisted suicide has “overwhelming” support in Vermont, the survey showed that the vote for approval among voters is 51 percent, with almost 7 percent undecided. This shows a trend toward a more thoughtful look at the issue in coming years.

The information was released at a press conference in Montpelier today.

Sarah Launderville, Executive Director of VCIL, an organization that opposes physician-assisted suicide, said this issue needs to be looked at holistically and not as a stand-alone issue. “We need to take into consideration a person’s supports, including access to adequate health care, home supports, income levels, and safeguards for people in vulnerable situations,” she said.

VCIL believes that creating public policy around physician-assisted suicide is a bad idea because there are too many uncertainties and risks associated with it. Physician-assisted suicide does not address issues that many people with a terminal illness need, including support and services related to palliative care and pain management, support against coercion and abuse, and a system with safeguards to protect people when in vulnerable situations.

“With too many uncertainties and risk around physician-assisted suicide, VCIL stays committed to continue the fight against this becoming public policy,” said Launderville.