May 20, 2013 — Vermont will become the 4th state in the nation to allow physician assisted suicide when Governor Peter Shumlin signs the end-of-life bill into law Monday afternoon.
The bill permits physicians to help terminally ill patients end their lives.
It’s been a long road for the bill, which was subject to a number of amendments in the Senate. The House passed a different version in April, and the two bodies agreed upon a version 2 weeks ago.
Ben Underhill is from Brattleboro, Vermont. He’s in a wheel chair. Ten years ago, he was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. At a Senate debate earlier this year, he explained why he supports the bill:
"I have a feeling, more than most people of how my life will end. It won’t be fun, it won’t be easy, I’ve gone through a lot of struggle with operations and what-not, I’m a fighter, I’m going to continue to fight, but I know I don’t want those last three weeks. And that’s why this bill is important to me."
Governor Shumlin will sign the bill at 2 p.m. in the ceremonial offices at the statehouse in Montpelier.
The signing is open to the public.