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C&C Magazine

Legislative Victories in Montana and Vermont!

Another legislative session, another batch of frivolous attempts to reverse sound aid-in-dying laws. But once again, choice wins!

Thanks to the Compassion & Choices’ Montana team, passionate volunteers and sensible lawmakers, Montana legislators defeated two bills to gut end-of-life options in the state. One was modeled after 2013’s “Physician Imprisonment Act,” and both would have sent doctors to prison for helping their terminally ill patients access medical aid in dying – a practice authorized under 2009’s state Supreme Court Baxter v. Montana decision. “Years-long grassroots work meant that personal Montana stories overcame hypocrisy and fear,” said National Director of Political Affairs & Advocacy Jessica Grennan of the inspiring victories.

Opponents also failed in their efforts to repeal Vermont’s two-year-old aid-in-dying law, which has worked as intended and without incident since implementation. Two separate amendments that would have dismantled the law met defeat on the House floor. To date seven people have accessed aid in dying in Vermont, yet many others derive comfort from knowing they have the option should they need it. As further affirmation, the Vermont Senate today gave final legislative approval to S.108, a bill that supports the state’s 2013 law.

“These are significant victories,” said C&C President Barbara Coombs Lee. “Aid in dying will become harder to repeal as the years go by. Each year we gain stability for aid in dying as just another end-of-life option.” Nevertheless, we must remain poised to protect these laws that so many people fight for years to establish, and to expand these same end-of-life options across the nation.

Stopping legislation to roll-back freedom of choice, coupled with the unprecedented number of death-with-dignity bills introduced this year, demonstrate the clear mandate from citizens: authorize end-of-life options.

Find out all the ways you can help the effort at our Volunteer Action Center.