Monday November 1, 2010

Vermont Gov. Candidate Vows to Legalize Assisted Suicide if Elected

By Kathleen Gilbert

MONTPELIER, Vermont, November 1, 2010 ( – The Democratic candidate for governor of Vermont has told a pro-euthanasia lobby group that he would push to decriminalize the actions of those who help others kill themselves.

“I support end of life choices,” said gubernatorial candidate Peter Shumlin in a September interview with Vermont Today posted on the Death with Dignity website.

Shumlin sympathetically described an encounter he had with a cancer-stricken woman who expressed a wish to be able to kill herself legally. “I can’t imagine in my wildest dreams why government would get in between that woman … and her doctor,” he said.

Shumlin highlighted that his Republican opponent, Brian Dubie, opposes assisted suicide as well as abortion, which the Democrat vowed he would “defend until my dying day.”

“[End-of-life choices] are really important issues that should also be discussed in this campaign,” said the Democrat. “Brian believes the government should regulate [abortion], I don’t. I also feel that way about end-of-life choices.”

Polls show Shumlin and Dubie locked in a tight race for governor of the blue state. Although a VPR/Mason Dixon poll found Dubie ahead by one point in mid-October, a Rasmussen Reports survey found Shumlin ahead five points at the end of the month.

Shumlin has expressed support for assisted-suicide legislation similar to that of Oregon, where the practice has been legal since 1994. The law has led to now-famous abuses, including the story of cancer patient Barbara Wagner, who began speaking out against the law after she learned in 2008 that her insurance plan would cover drugs to kill herself, but not the more expensive cancer treatment.

Alex Schadenburg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition urged Vermont voters to recognize the threat of Shumlin’s views, and keep him out of office.

“Many people decide how they will vote based on several issues, but in Vermont, voters need to reject Peter Shumlin to reject the legalization of assisted suicide,” said Schadenburg.

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