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Death with Dignity and People with Disabilities

Joan Tollifson portrait

This is a guest post by Joan Tollifson (the subheadings and links are ours). Read our open call for guest posts →

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Joan Tollifson is an author and teacher who was active in the disability rights movement and the independent living movement. She was a participant in the historic month-long 504 Occupation in 1977 of the San Francisco federal building for disability rights, worked at the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, and has written numerous articles on disability, several of which have appeared these anthologies on disability: Staring Back, Voices from the Edge, and With the Power of Each Breath. Disability was also a major theme in her first book, Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life, a spiritual memoir. She is the author of four books on non-duality and meditation. She lives in Ashland, Oregon. Find her online at www.JoanTollifson.com.

Read more: Death with Dignity and People with Disabilities

Maine's Historic House Vote and the Demise of LD 1270

Maine Senate Vote on LD 1270

This is a report from this week's votes on LD 1270, a Death with Dignity bill, in Maine's legislature, by our long-time supporter and volunteer, Valerie Lovelace.

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Valerie Lovelace is the executive director of the nonprofit 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. She lives in Maine.

Today I am both happy and sad.

I’m happy that LD 1270, An Act Regarding Patient-Directed Care at the End-of-Life, enjoyed a Committee hearing, a Committee working session, two Senate hearings with roll call votes, an historic House hearing with a roll call vote—all in the space of just two months.

Read more: Maine's Historic House Vote and the Demise of LD 1270

Week 24/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Newspaper stack image

Last week (June 8 to June 14, 2015), a hearing was held in the Tennessee Senate Health and Welfare Committee on a proposed bill as part of the summer study process.

California

The positive media fallout from the Senate vote on SB 128 continues.

Maine

This week the Maine legislature votes on a proposed Death with Dignity bill.

Read more: Week 24/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Rage No More II: My Beautiful Right

Portrait of Kiki Denee

Death with Dignity as an issue extends well past the media and popular discourse alone. Increasingly, artists reach out to us with various projects. The poem below appeared on our Facebook page, posted by the author KiKi Denee. Read our open call for guest posts →

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When to decide
It was a good fight
And, it’s time
And, it’s ok.
Valiantly go into the unknown.

When to decide
To look forward
To walk on
March on
and surrender.
Resolutely journey into the unknown.
The Dark Night.

I’ve caught and sang the sun
in flight [i]
I’ve seized and danced the moon
at night.
I’ve grabbed and tasted the earth
when ripe.
I’ve burned and raved my life away.
A disgusting, dirty, dying cliché.

I welcome you, Beautiful Night.
I will Rage No More against
My Beautiful Right.

[i] Thomas, Dylan. (1951). "Do not go gentle into that good night."

Read more: Rage No More II: My Beautiful Right

Sound Evidence over Sound Bites

Book cover of Dying with Dignity

This is a guest post by Dr. Giza Lopes (the subheadings and links are ours). Read our open call for guest posts →

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Giza Lopes, PhD, is an assistant professor at the School of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Albany. She is the author of Dying with Dignity: A Legal Approach to Assisted Death (Global Crime and Justice), published by Praeger earlier this year.

This year advocacy efforts to legalize death with dignity in the United States have achieved unprecedented momentum. Over half of the state legislatures are entertaining bills largely patterned after the Oregon experience, many for the first time. Just last week, the Golden State’s Senate advanced a bill that, if approved by the Assembly, could give terminally ill Californians the right to end their life with the aid of a doctor.

Read more: Sound Evidence over Sound Bites

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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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