Last week a bill was introduced in Alaska and Maryland Houses. A group of patients and doctors filed a lawsuit in California seeking a right to physician-assisted dying. The right-to-die movement gained an influential advocate, NPR host Diane Rehm. And the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling last week affirming the right to physician-assisted dying fueled the Death with Dignity debate in the U.S., including NBC News, TIME, and Washington Post.
A friend of our organization’s, Dr. Peter Rasmussen, a retired physician in Salem, Oregon, who was one of the original plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case Gonzales v. Oregon and who is now suffering from the same type of cancer as Brittany Maynard did, published an op-ed in the New York Daily News on Sunday. In the piece he answers the question, “Should doctors ever help you die?” with a resounding, “Yes.” Our Vice President, George Eighmey, was a guest on the Senior Answer webcast out of Texas.
These are the highlights of the most important developments in the movement around the United States from February 8 to February 15, 2015, with the corresponding media coverage.
Alaska has become the 21st state this year where a Death with Dignity bill will have been debated.
- “Bill would let terminally ill make decision to die,” Peninsula Clarion (via Associated Press), 2/9/2015
- “Rep. Drummond says “death with dignity” not same as suicide,” KTOO, 2/11/2015
- “Anchorage lawmakers sparks new conversation with ‘Right to Die’ bill,” KTVA, 2/11/2015
- “Allow death with dignity, for there is respect for life and freedom,” Alaska Dispatch News, 2/14/2015
While the legislators grapple with the proposed End of Life Option Act, a group of patients and physicians filed a lawsuit seeking an end to the state’s ban on physician-assisted dying.
- “Suit seeks to exempt physicians from assisted suicide law,” Recorder Online (via Associated Press), 2/11/2015
- “Cancer patients, doctors sue to allow physician-assisted death for terminally ill,” Los Angeles Times, 2/11/2015
- “California cancer patient sues for right to doctor-assisted death,” Reuters, 2/11/2015
- “S.F. woman with leukemia sues for right to die at home,” SF Gate / San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11/2015
- “California Cancer Patient Sues State For Right To Doctor-Assisted Death,” Huffington Post, 2/11/2015
- “Supporters increase push for California aid-in-dying bill,” Sacramento Bee, 2/12/2015
District of Columbia and Maryland
While in DC Councilmember Cheh’s bill is making its rounds through the Council, 37 delegates introduced a bill in the Maryland House.
- “Death with dignity,” Star Democrat, 2/10/2015
- “State senate considering ‘death with dignity’ bill,” Cecil Daily, 2/12/2015
- “Maryland’s proposed death with dignity bill gets a name,” Baltimore Sun Times, 2/13/2015
- “Howard legislator is primary House sponsor for death with dignity bill,” Baltimore Sun, 2/13/2015
- “Anderton conflicted over ‘Death With Dignity’ bill,” Delmarva Now, 2/13/2015
Whereas physician-assisted dying isn’t illegal in Montana by Supreme Court ruling, two bills are circulating in the State Legislature: a Senate bill legalizing death with dignity and a House bill criminalizing physicians’ participation in assisted suicide.
- “Missoula lawmaker weighs in on right to die legislation,” KPAX8, 2/9/2015
- “Legislators hear physician-assisted suicide bills,” Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 2/10/2015
- “Bills Opposing And Supporting Assisted Suicide On Tuesday’s Legislative Agenda,” Montana Public Radio, 2/10/2015
- “Montana Lawmakers Debate Competing Assisted Suicide Bills,” Montana Public Radio, 2/10/2015
- “Legislative panels hear opposing aid-in-dying bills,” Daily Inter Lake, 2/10/2015
- “Ban on assisted suicide clears committee in Montana House of Representatives,” KRTV, 2/12/2015
- Oklahoma: “Editorial: The time has come to legalize death with dignity in Oklahoma,” Tulsa World, 2/9/2015
- “Trying to Ease End-of-Life Suffering,” New York Times, 2/9/2015
- “Deciding When to Die,” Pacific Standard, 2/10/2015
- “For Oregon man with ALS, ‘death with dignity’ was a relief,” Toronto Star, 2/6/2015
Image by josh hunter.
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