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Week 28/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (July 6 to July 12, 2015) the hearing in the California State Assembly Committee on Health was postponed for a second time as the sponsors of SB 128, End of Life Option Act, determined the bill had insufficient votes to pass. Senators Wolk and Monning intend to bring the bill back next year, in the latter half of the 2015-2016 legislative session.

The D.C. Council's Committee on Health and Human Services held a 10-hour hearing on Councilmember Mary Cheh's Death with Dignity Act of 2015. The next steps will not be decided until after the Council's summer recess.

California

The second postponement of the Assembly Committee on Health hearing on SB 128 generated a lot of news coverage.

Read more: Week 28/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

D.C. Council Holds First Hearing on Death with Dignity as New Poll Shows 67% Support in District

A poll released by Lake Research today shows 67 percent of District of Columbia residents (51 percent strongly) support the right of terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives. The findings were released as the District City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee met for the first time on the issue.

"The numbers come as no surprise," said Peg Sandeen, Executive Director of Death with Dignity National Center, an advocacy organization. "National polls, too, show overwhelming—and growing—support for letting people make their own decisions about how to live their last days."

Introduced in January 2015 by Councilmember Mary Cheh, D-Ward 3, and endorsed by The Washington Post last month, the Death with Dignity Act of 2015 would allow adult D.C. residents who have had two doctors confirm a terminal diagnosis to fill a prescription medication to end their lives in a peaceful and dignified manner at the time and place of their choosing.

A virtually identical law has been in place in Oregon since 1997. In 18 years, no significant problems have arisen, and it has been used relatively sparingly—only 1,327 times, with fully a third of those who successfully obtain a prescription opting not to use it.

Read more: D.C. Council Holds First Hearing on Death with Dignity as New Poll Shows 67% Support in District

Week 27/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (June 29 to July 5, 2015), California heated up in advance of tomorrow's hearing on SB 128, End of Life Option Act at the Assembly Committee on Health. The Catholic Church stepped up the pressure on Catholic Committee members, several of whom are vaccilating on the issue (see our letter campaign).

The Statesman Journal ran another part in the series about the end-of-life journey of our organization's friend and long-time Death with Dignity advocate, Dr. Peter Rasmussen, MD.

California

Pro and anti-Death with Dignity advocates stepped up campaigns in the run-up to the first Assembly hearing.

Read more: Week 27/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Sharing Death with Dignity Stories

We have long asked members of our community to tell us why they support Death with Dignity. The most common thread running through the responses is that people are in favor of Death with Dignity because of a heartbreaking personal experience. Over the past few months, as half of state legislatures considered Death with Dignity bills, we've received an unprecedented number of stories from people all around the country.

Today on this blog we begin a new series, underscoring, in our supporters' words, the reasons for Death with Dignity to become a legal end-of-life option everywhere. We present the stories you're about to read in raw form edited only for clarity and length. Because of next week's hearing on SB 128 - California End of Life Option Act in the Assembly Committee on Health, we begin with stories from the Golden State, many of which express support for the pending legislation. And though none of the stories reference the upcoming Independence Day, the spirit that we associate with the holiday, of personal liberty, individual self-determination and decision-making, and freedom from outside interference, is palpable.

Read more: Sharing Death with Dignity Stories

Week 26/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (June 22 to June 28, 2015), the California Assembly Health Committee hearing on Senate Bill 128 - End of Life Option Act was rescheduled to July 7 while the bill's sponsors seek to round up the votes.

The Economist magazine featured a themed issue, "The right to die," with a number of articles:

California

The postponement of the Assembly Health Committee hearing on SB 128 generated a flurry of editorials urging the Assemblymembers to pass the bill.

Read more: Week 26/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

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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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