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Week 8/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week a bill was introduced in the New York House, a bill criminalizing physician-assisted dying failed in Montana, and debate about Death with Dignity ramped up in Maryland and Massachusetts. The Daily Beast asked whether assisted dying is "the new abortion," and after she declared support for the issue Diane Rehm featured Death with Dignity on her program.

These are the highlights of the most important developments in the movement around the United States from February 15 to February 21, 2015, with the corresponding media coverage.

California

The lively debate around the End of Life Option Act continued in the media, including on KPFA radio where our Vice President George Eighmey debated the proponents' side.

Read more: Week 8/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Week 7/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

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.

Read more: Week 7/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Oregon Health Authority Releases 2014 Death with Dignity Report

Oregon Health Authority, the state agency that oversees the implementation of and compliance with the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, has just released the 2014 Annual Report.

A total of 155 terminally-ill adult Oregonians received a prescription for medications under the provisions of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in 2014, while 105 of them (67.7%) ingested the medications to die peacefully. This corresponds to 31 Death with Dignity Act (DWDA) deaths per 10,000 total deaths, or 0.3%.

Other highlights from the 2014 Annual Report:

Read more: Oregon Health Authority Releases 2014 Death with Dignity Report

Week 6/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

The whirlwind of media attention to Death with Dignity continued into February. These are the highlights of press coverage of the most important developments in the movement around the United States from February 1 to February 7, 2015.

If you only read one article, make sure it's this overview of Death with Dignity developments written in response to the New York lawsuit (see below): "More states consider assisted-suicide laws since Brittany Maynard's death," The Christian Science Monitor, 2/4/2015.

(For a good overview of the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling that Canadian adults who are mentally competent and suffering intolerably and permanently have the right to a doctor’s help in dying, read this Globe and Mail article. And, TIME magazine has an analysis, including our take, of the impact of SCC's ruling in the U.S.)

California

The buzz around California's End of Life Option Act continues unabated.

Read more: Week 6/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Canada Legalizes Physician-Assisted Dying

Canada today provided terminally-ill citizens with increased peace of mind and control over the dying process. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that those who are terminally ill and experiencing intolerable suffering have the right to a physician's assistance in hastening death. The monumental ruling demonstrates Canada's commitment, as a country with a reputation of being a just and civil society, to allowing terminally ill individuals the right to increased control in their final stages of life and strikes down an inhumane ban on assisted dying that interfered with the most fundamental of relationships between a dying patient and his or her physician.

The Canadian case, Carter v. Canada, featured several patients, but was driven by the plight of countless others. Gloria Taylor was a woman living with ALS who appealed to the Canadian court system in 2011 for the right to a dignified and humane death. The British Columbia Court of Appeals granted Taylor a personal exemption from the ban on assisted suicide, providing her with the right to an assisted death. After her death, the case continued, reaching resolution today.

Read more: Canada Legalizes Physician-Assisted Dying

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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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