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Dying the Way I Want: Death with Dignity in Maine

This is a guest post by our long-time supporter in Maine, Valerie Lovelace. Val is the executive director of It's My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, "to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid." She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT.

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Maine Should Have a Death with Dignity Law

Maine’s legislature recently failed to pass LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-Directed Care at the End-of-Life. The bill would have allowed a qualifying, terminally ill adult to ask for a prescription medication to take at a time of their choosing as their death becomes imminent. It had a very clear process and protected all who chose to participate while forcing none who are morally opposed.

Read more: Dying the Way I Want: Death with Dignity in Maine

Week 32/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (August 3 to August 9, 2015) the Washington State Health Department released the 2014 annual report on the implementation of the Death with Dignity law. Read the full report, our highlights, or a write-up in Seattle Weekly.

In the run-up to the release of the report, the Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber newspaper, a hyperlocal publication on a Puget Sound island southwest of Seattle, ran two stories related to the state's Death with Dignity law.

Image by Howard Ignatius.

Read more: Week 32/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Washington State Releases 2014 Death with Dignity Report

The Washington State Department of Health yesterday released the 2014 annual report on the implementation of the Washington Death with Dignity Act. The figures underscore not only that only a small number of people use the law, but also that the Washington Death with Dignity Act continues to work flawlessly and provides ease of mind and relief to Washingtonians facing the end of life.

In 2014, 176 terminally ill Washington residents received a prescription under the Act to help hasten their death. This is a 2% increase over the previous year. Of patients with the prescription, 170 are known to have died: 126 after ingesting the medication and the rest either let the disease take its course or their status is unknown. Since 2008, when the Act went into effect, "725 adults with terminal illness have chosen to end their lives with a physician-prescribed lethal dose of medication," according to the report.

Fifty-seven percent of participants in the Washington Death with Dignity Act were women. Ages ranged from 21 to 101 years. A vast majority, 92 percent, were Caucasian, and 75 percent had at least some post-secondary education.

Read more: Washington State Releases 2014 Death with Dignity Report

Week 31/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (July 27 to August 2, 2015) was a very quiet one in the Death with Dignity movement, as the middle of the summer tends to be...

Image by Elena.

Read more: Week 31/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Week 30/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Newspaper Boxes

Last week (July 20 to July 26, 2015), as legislatures went into summer recesses the Death with Dignity movement entered a "slow news day" period, until a California judge dismissed one of the two lawsuits challenging the state's assisted suicide law.

Read more: Week 30/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

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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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