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Exclusive: A summary of the announcement of End of Life Option Act in California

As we recently wrote, our representatives attended the announcement on January 21, 2015, of the End of Life Option Act in the California State Capitol. A recording of the 45-minute long press conference is available online. Today we bring you an exclusive summary, including our introduction. Please take a few minutes to watch the video and share your thoughts in the comments.

The Announcement of California End of Life Option Act from Death with Dignity National Ctr on Vimeo.

Read more: Exclusive: A summary of the announcement of End of Life Option Act in California

End of Life Option Act Introduced in California

Press Conference Announcing End of Life Option Act at California State Capitol, 1/21/2015

Representatives from Death with Dignity National Center attended the announcement of the End-of-Life Option Act at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Sponsored by Senators Wolk and Monning, Senate Bill 128 provides peace of mind and control for the terminally ill while safeguarding against coercion for those who are vulnerable. We are pleased to have worked with Senators Wolk and Monning to draft the proposed California legislation, the End of Life Option Act, and we will deliver our political and strategic experts who have worked successfully to pass legislation in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont to assist the California efforts.

George Eighmey, DDNC Vice President, said: "We are proud to be here today to support Senators Wolk and Monning as well as the people of California, in proposing a Death with Dignity law to provide a peaceful and dignified death for those suffering from terminal illnesses. The time is right for California to adopt this law."

The Golden State has always been a leader in progressive policy reforms protecting individual rights. Thanks to this leadership, our movement traces its earliest roots to California, as the Death with Dignity National Center was founded here in 1993. We were proud to join these efforts yesterday.

Watch the full press conference below:

Read more: End of Life Option Act Introduced in California

Breaking News Out of New Jersey

New Jersey General Assembly

The New Jersey Assembly passed its own version of Death with Dignity today, modeled on Oregon's 20 year old legislation to allow a terminally ill patient to choose the timing and manner of death. The bill passed by a vote of 41-31 in the Assembly, and now heads to the state Senate for approval.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli has championed the bill over the last two years, quietly at first, and then with more urgency as the bill gained momentum. His sister-in-law, Claudia Burzichelli, testified in front of the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee in favor of the bill, disclosing her own diagnosis of terminal lung cancer.

On his website, Burzichelli says, "Like society, medicine, palliative care and hospice services have changed dramatically since [a similar piece of legislation was introduced in 1978]. While there are many choices available right now that may be right for certain people, there is one more choice, not currently available, that deserves an honest discussion."

A companion bill awaits attention in the state Senate, but New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced his opposition to the bill.

Read more: Breaking News Out of New Jersey

Farewell and Thank You

Melissa Barber, VT Gov Peter Shumlin, and George Eighmey at VT's bill signing ceremony

With mixed emotions, I'm leaving the Death with Dignity National Center at the end of this week. When I started at the National Center in 2010, I was charged with building an online community around death and dying—no easy feat considering most people avoid the subject as much as possible. But together, with the help of many of you long-time and new supporters, we've built a thriving and invigorating community around a difficult and often taboo subject. Thank you.

Communities, by their very nature, aren't one-person endeavors. They form over time as people with many different backgrounds and beliefs find commonality. Over the last four and a half years, I'm pleased to have engaged in online conversations with conservatives, liberals, atheists, believers, supporters and even opponents (or people who were once opponents). We haven't always agreed, and that's only made our community stronger. By sharing our different opinions, feelings, and beliefs we've made our own individual worlds larger and richer.

It's an exciting time for Death with Dignity. During my time here, I was privileged to be part of a near win in Massachusetts and work directly with Vermonters to see the over ten years of work come to fruition with the first Death with Dignity law on the east coast. The movement is on the cusp of a rapid acceleration of momentum, and several states are poised to move forward with laws of their own in the near future.

Read more: Farewell and Thank You

Brittany Maynard: In Her Own Words

Rest in Peace Brittany Maynard
Image care of ET Online

Brittany Maynard, the heroic young woman who shared her decision to request prescribed medication allowed under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act, has died. All of us at the Death with Dignity National Center would like to express our deepest condolences to her family through this very difficult time.

Read more: Brittany Maynard: In Her Own Words

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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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