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MONTPELIER

Assisted suicide bill in Vermont closer to passage

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The Vermont Senate has passed a bill freeing doctors and family members from criminal or civil liability when they attend to a terminally ill patient who decides to end her or his own life. Lieutenant Governor Phil Scott once again broke a 15-to-15 tie on a key procedural vote that cleared the way for final passage of the bill variously dubbed physician-assisted suicide or death with dignity. The bill now moves to the House, where Governor Peter Shumlin says he hopes it will emerge closer to the form originally filed in the Senate. The original bill contained more safeguards to ensure that a patient requesting a lethal dose of medication is of sound mind and not under any undue pressure.

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