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Ensure Your Long-Term Support with a Bequest

Dee, Death with Dignity supporter since 2001

Dee has supported and advocated for clearly written and safe Death with Dignity laws since 2001.

I watched my mother, father, and two brothers die slow, horrible deaths. I've included the Death with Dignity National Center in my estate plans because I want to ensure future generations won't have to suffer like my loved ones did.

My way of advocating for Death with Dignity is to help ensure the Death with Dignity National Center's long-term financial strength. A wonderful way to accomplish this is to do what I've done and include them in your estate plans. In doing so you'll leave a legacy of dignity to future generations.

Two of the most common ways are bequests and planned gifts. It's never too late to plan ahead, and tax time is a good annual reminder to look at one's estate plans. It's very easy to include Death with Dignity National Center in your bequest; here's some sample language to use:

I give, devise, and bequeath to the Death with Dignity National Center, 520 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 1220, Portland, Oregon 97204, EIN #: 93-1162366, ______% of my estate or the sum of $____________ (or describe stocks, bonds, life insurance, or other assets) to be used for the general purpose of defending and promoting Death with Dignity laws throughout the United States.

Read more: Ensure Your Long-Term Support with a Bequest

This Week in the Movement

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date with information about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook and Twitter. Below are highlights from this week.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

New England Journal of Medicine Looks at Washington's Death with Dignity Act

Dr. Remmel with his sons, photo provided to NBC News by Grace Wang

When Washington's Death with Dignity Act took effect in 2009, medical groups throughout the state took the law's built-in safeguards as a guide for formulating their own internal policies for honoring their terminally ill patients' new legal rights. One of these institutions, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, just published an analysis of their experience with patients who requested the prescribed medication in the New England Journal of Medicine. Their conclusion: "Overall, our Death with Dignity program has been well accepted by patients and clinicians."

Echoing what we've seen through the Washington Department of Health's annual reports of usage, this study found the law is used by a small minority of the clinic's patients and "patients and families were grateful to receive the lethal prescription, whether it was used or not."

Read more: New England Journal of Medicine Looks at Washington's Death with Dignity Act

Vermont House Committees Hear Testimony on Death with Dignity Bill

Patient Choices VT Ad "Now--Not in 10 Years"

The proposed Vermont Death with Dignity bill started its journey through the state's House of Representatives in earnest this week. The bill (Senate Bill 77) took some unusual turns before being approved by the Senate on February 14th of this year. This week, House Judiciary and Human Services committees heard from Senators about the bill's path in the Senate and end-of-life care experts familiar with the need for safeguards in Death with Dignity laws.

The hearings started on Wednesday with Sen. Claire Ayer explaining the process the bill went through in the Senate. She was followed by many people with extensive knowledge about Death with Dignity laws including Jean Mallary—widow of Vermont Congressman Richard Mallary.

Hearings continued on Thursday and included supportive testimony from several notables: two former governors, Barbara Roberts from Oregon and Madeleine Kunin from Vermont; Harry Chen, Vermont Commissioner of Public Health; George Eighmey, the newest Death with Dignity National Center board member, former Oregon legislator, and former executive director of the Oregon nonprofit which works directly with patients to access the state's Death with Dignity Act; and respected palliative care physician Diana Barnard.

Read more: Vermont House Committees Hear Testimony on Death with Dignity Bill

Advance Directives: the Why and How

National Healthcare Decisions Day

This blog post is the second in a series of guest posts by Arashi about end-of-life care planning and documentation in honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day.

Discussing advance directives with loved ones and health care proxies can be difficult. Often people are afraid of discussing anything regarding death and dying and ignore the topic altogether. Many people think their family members will "know what to do when the time comes," so there's no reason to make a legal document.

Read more: Advance Directives: the Why and How

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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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