Week 44/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

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In the week from October 26 to November 1, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts held a hearing in the Joint Committee for Public Health for the proposed Compassionate Care for the Terminally Ill Act.

A California appeals court affirmed a lower court’s decision to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to allow physicians to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally ill patients.

California

Massachusetts

Elsewhere and Other Stories

Image by Binuri Ranasinge.

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Week 43/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

In the week from October 19 to October 25, the new California Death with Dignity law continued generating attention, with the ballot initiative to repeal it garnering approval to collect signatures and questions arising as to implementation.

In New York a court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the state’s assisted suicide statutes.

California

Massachusetts

Elsewhere and Other Stories

Image by Daniel R. Blume.

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Week 42/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

In the week from October 12 to October 18, the passage of the California End of Life Option Act reverberated across the country. And the Death with Dignity movement suffered a great loss: our dear friend Dick Walters, who led the effort in Vermont to pass the Death with Dignity law in 2013, died on October 16 using medications prescribed under the law.

California

New York

Vermont

Elsewhere and Other Stories

Image by Matt Hintsa.

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Week 41/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

In the week from October 5 to October 11, California became the fourth state to enact a Death with Dignity statute and the fifth to legalize physician assisted dying when Governor Brown signed the End of Life Option Act. The decision reverberated across the nation.

California Coverage

California’s Impact

Florida

Maryland

New York

Elsewhere and Other Stories

Image by Thomas Hawk.

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California Becomes the Fourth State with a Death with Dignity Statute

In a historic decision today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act into law!

With the Governor’s signature, thirty-nine million Californians joined the residents of Oregon, Washington, and Vermont in having the option, should they be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, to end their lives in a humane and dignified manner.

Please join us in signing this Thank You card to the Governor for his compassionate decision.

The enormity of our victory cannot be understated. Not only have the months of our work crafting the bill, campaigning and strategizing with the sponsors in the California Senate and Assembly paid off, all qualified West Coast residents now have the option to die with dignity. We’ve achieved monumental progress for all Americans who want the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions.

The Governor’s decision is certain to reverberate across the nation. You’ll be hearing from us about that in the coming weeks as more remains to be done in California to ensure smooth implementation of the law and even more in 46 additional states that do not have a Death with Dignity law. For now, please join us in celebrating freedom winning the day.

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Week 40/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

In the week from September 28 to October 4, California awaited Governor Brown’s decision about the End of Life Option Act.

California

Tennessee

Elsewhere & Other Stories

Image by JE Smith.

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California Becomes the Fourth State with a Death with Dignity Law

In a historic decision today, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the End of Life Option Act into law!

With the Governor’s signature, thirty-nine million Californians joined the residents of Oregon, Washington, and Vermont in having the option, should they be terminally ill with less than 6 months to live, to end their lives in a humane and dignified manner.

Please join us in signing this Thank You card to the Governor for his compassionate decision.

The enormity of our victory cannot be understated. Not only have the months of our work crafting the bill, campaigning and strategizing with the sponsors in the California Senate and Assembly paid off, all qualified West Coast residents now have the option to die with dignity. We’ve achieved monumental progress for all Americans who want the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions.

The Governor’s decision is certain to reverberate across the nation. You’ll be hearing from us about that in the coming weeks as more remains to be done in California to ensure smooth implementation of the law and even more in 46 additional states that do not have a Death with Dignity law. For now, please join us in celebrating freedom winning the day.

View full post on Death with Dignity National Center

Weeks 37 thru 39/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

The three weeks from September 7 to 27 saw the most important event in the history of the Death with Dignity movement since Vermont’s passage of Act 39. Both the California Assembly and Senate approved the End of Life Option Act, the former on a 42 to 33 vote, the latter on a 23 to 14 vote. The bill is now on Governor Brown’s desk. Learn more →

California

Oregon

Elsewhere & Other Stories

Image by Brittany Randolph.

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Week 36/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (August 31 to September 6, 2015) Californians got another step closer to having Death with Dignity as an end-of-life option when the state Assembly’s Extraordinary Session Public Health and Developmental Services Committee on approved AB2X-15, the California End of Life Option Act, on a 10 to 3 vote. The finance committee later approved the bill on a 5 to 3 vote; the same day University of California Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies released a poll showing support for the bill now stands at nearly 76%. The bill will be debated and voted on in the full Assembly this week.

In New Mexico, the State Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments, for October 26, in the lawsuit recently decided by the appeals court which struck down a lower court’s ruling that physician assisted dying was legal in the state.

California

New Mexico

Elsewhere & Other Stories

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Why I Advocate for Death with Dignity

When I was growing up in Boone, Iowa, death and dying were a matter of fact in my family. My mother was a hospice nurse, and when we gathered around the dinner table, conversations about death were common.

But I wouldn’t face death on a deep, personal level until much later. In 1989, I graduated from college and met John. By the time we got married two years later, John had been diagnosed with HIV. Nearly everyone with the virus died badly back then, and my husband’s immediate response was, “I don’t want to die that way.”

It was then that I truly understood how important it is for a dying person to be able to decide how they die. As his health declined, John wanted to be in control of his own medical care, including how he died. He’d been in charge of his life; all he wanted was to be in charge of it until the very end.

Time and again, I’ve seen people join the Death with Dignity movement because of a personal experience like mine. Will you share your story with me? What inspired you to get involved with our cause? What does Death with Dignity mean to you?

When John (pictured with our daughter Hannah) died in 1993, I went on to become a social worker. The profession’s values — personal autonomy and self-determination as foundations of human dignity — reflect my own. It was at around that time that the issue entered the popular debate and Oregon passed the nation’s first Death with Dignity law. Death with Dignity had not been an option for John, so I’ve dedicated my life to creating an environment for dying individuals to be empowered to control how they die.

After managing the AIDS Project of Central Iowa and finishing my doctoral coursework at Portland State University, I accepted the position of Executive Director at the Death with Dignity National Center. To call this an exciting opportunity is an understatement: barely six months into the job I was standing on the steps of the US Supreme Court as we defended the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Since then, we spearheaded the successful ballot initiative in Washington and helped pass the Vermont law.

This is my story, the reason I began my lifelong journey of advocating for Death with Dignity. And, it is stories like yours that inspire me to continue doing this important work. It would be an honor if you shared your story with me today.

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