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Sundance Award for "How to Die in Oregon"

"How to Die in Oregon," a documentary about Oregon's groundbreaking Death with Dignity law, received one of the highest awards at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend. The broad base of interest in and high accolades for Peter Richardson's documentary is one more indication of the change in American's understanding and growing support of what it means to die with dignity and be able to decide when and how to die when faced with a terminal illness.

Culturally, films like "How to Die in Oregon" represent a shift in how we think about end-of-life care and dying. Following suit, many legislators around the country are contemplating expanded options for those who are terminally ill. In particular, three states have already introduced legislation emulating the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity laws: Hawaii, Montana, and New Hampshire. And this is just the beginning.

Lawmakers in other states are drafting Death with Dignity Acts modeled on the tried and true Oregon and Washington laws, and other states are likely to follow suit. We're monitoring the status of these bills. As legislative sessions in all states heat up, check back often to stay up-to-date.

Want to read more about "How to Die in Oregon"? Check out these reviews from folks who went to last week's Sundance Festival:


  • Posted by Marilyn LaCourt on Monday, June 20 at 06:31 p.m.

    I go one step further. I should be able to get help from the medical profession to end my life even if I am not terminally ill.

    A poem by By Marilyn LaCourt

    Now I lay me down to sleep
    I hope to die before I wake
    Cause, I already ate my cake
    No pie in the sky
    From which to partake

    I’ve had my fill. I feel no hunger
    No desire to be much younger.
    Been there, done that, and now I wish...
    No longer to exit....
    Yes, no longer to exist.

    Don’t feel bad. It’s okay
    No more to do, no reason to stay
    I’ve loved you all along the way
    You loved me too
    You fed me cake
    I tasted your frosting sweet and true

    I’m not greedy, had my fill
    Had my cake and ate it too
    When death comes to make its call
    As it will for us all
    I can say life tasted good
    I ate it all. I’ve had my fill

    Make a difference? Thought I could
    I used to think perhaps I would....
    I can’t do busy. It makes me dizzy
    And now I’m boring even me.

    Wiser folks than me
    Left an awesome legacy
    But no one ever lives forever
    Even if they once were clever
    Dementia knows no boundaries
    Staying too long is just plain wrong

    Bodies give out like well-worn shoes
    Minds go to mush like left over stews
    Loved ones are tasked with the care
    Of empty shells with no one there
    To linger too long would be a mistake
    One I hope not to make

    Conscience guides me
    Don’t get greedy
    Best to leave before I’m needy
    I’ve had a long run. It’s been good
    I want to go now. It’s time... I should

Defend dignity. Take action.

You are the key to ensuring well-crafted Death with Dignity laws for all Americans. With your financial and volunteer help, the Death with Dignity National Center, a 501(c)(3), non-partisan, nonprofit organization, has been the leading advocate in the Death with Dignity movement. Individual contributions helped us pass new Death with Dignity laws in Washington and Vermont, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the Death with Dignity movement.

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