Vermont House approves non


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Nov 26, 2023

Vermont House approves non

By Kristen Fountain Feb 17 2023February 17, 2023 Aid-in-dying advocates spent

By Kristen Fountain

Feb 17 2023February 17, 2023

Aid-in-dying advocates spent more than 10 years trying to pass legislation that gave terminally ill Vermonters the right to end their lives. A bill that would expand that right to out-of-state residents just sailed through the Vermont House in 10 days.

Primary sponsor Rep. Rey Garofano, D-Essex Town, introduced H.190 on Feb. 7. It was approved overwhelmingly on a voice vote on Friday, with a similar response on preliminary approval the previous day.

"Currently, end-of-life care is the only health care in Vermont that requires that the patient be a resident of Vermont," said Garofano, presenting the bill on Thursday. She concluded saying there was no compelling reason "to distinguish this care as something other than health care."

On each vote, a few dissenting voices rang out, but the 11-member House Human Services Committee unanimously backed the bill. No one had been won over by testimony submitted the previous week from local and national right-to-life groups.

Americans United for Life had warned in a written statement that the bill "opens the state for suicide tourism." Vermont Right to Life representative Mary Hahn Beerworth raised both moral and logistical concerns in her presentation, such as how the state would be required to take responsibility for handling the remains of someone who traveled alone to the state to receive aid-in-dying.

An identical Senate bill, S.26, was introduced in January and remains with the Committee on Health and Welfare. Busy with completing other bills related to abortion care and child care subsidies, the committee is not scheduled to take it up next week, and may wait for the House bill to make its way over.

The Senate's committee chair, Ginny Lyons, D-Chittenden Southeast, called the change a "technical correction" during the bill's initial walkthrough. If put into law, it would likely end a federal court case challenging the residency requirement filed in August.

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