Assisted-suicide bills fail in Vermont, California

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 14, 2006

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Politicians in the two states widely regarded as most likely to pass physician-assisted suicide legislation have voted down bills modeled on Oregon's unique law. Committees in the Vermont House and the California Senate failed to move assisted-suicide bills to the floor. Many advocates of legalizing physician-assisted suicide were hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in January upholding the Oregon law would help their cause.

The California Assembly passed a bill similar to the Oregon law 48-30 in May, but the Senate Judiciary Committee voted it down June 27. Meanwhile, the Vermont House Human Services Committee reached a 5-5 tie on the bill May 4. Supporters of the Vermont effort said a committee member who could not vote due to serious illness would have voted in their favor, and they plan to try again next year.

AMA policy states that "physician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as healer."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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