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This Week in the Movement

From Dr. Angell's article in The New York Review of Books

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 Jersey Assembly Committee Clears Death with Dignity Bill

Claudia Burzichelli, photo by Patti Sapone of The Star-Ledger

After hearing two hours of testimony, the New Jersey Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee voted to move the proposed Death with Dignity bill to the full Assembly for a vote. Assembly Bill 3328, introduced by Representative John Burzichelli, would send a law emulating the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts to the voters of New Jersey.

Among the people testifying in favor of the bill was Claudia Burzichelli, the sister-in-law of Representative Burzichelli, who told the Assembly about family members who would have benefited from the proposed law. Then 18 months ago, she learned she too has a terminal illness, stage 4 lung cancer. She floored the committee with her testimony:

On the days when I have struggled to breathe or think about the stresses on my family, I would hope I might have more options than starving myself or taking my life in a violent way. I don't know how I will truly feel if and when that time may come. But it comforts me there could be a another way, other options. I hope New Jersey will become a state that gives respect and dignity to those who are dying.

Read more: New Jersey Assembly Committee Clears Death with Dignity Bill

Will Vermont Soon Join Oregon & Washington?

George Eighmey, photo care of Patient Choices Vermont

George testified before the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee about the proposed Death with Dignity bill (Senate Bill 77) last week. He observed the hours of hearings that went on throughout the week. Below are his observation of the proceedings.

The Vermont legislature is poised to pass an Oregon like Death with Dignity bill within the next few weeks. Attempts to enact a right to die act in Vermont have been going on since 2007, but it appears 2013 may be the year it finally passes. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin made passage of the law a high priority and has enlisted the speaker of the house and president of the senate, both Democrats, to shepherd the bill through the legislative process.

Read more: Will Vermont Soon Join Oregon & Washington?

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

Vermont Senate Committee Endorses Death with Dignity

Oregon hospice expert Ann Jackson testifying in Vermont.

After hearing hours of heartfelt testimony throughout the week, the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee endorsed the Death with Dignity bill to move forward today.

The bill will now be referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. The Judiciary Committee will decide whether or not to allow the bill to move to the Senate floor for debate. According to news reports, the decision is expected to take place the week of February 11th.

Social movements like Death with Dignity are slow, ponderous behemoths, which seem to unexpectedly speed up. For 12 years, dedicated advocates in Vermont have been working toward enacting the first Death with Dignity law through the legislative process. And after a somewhat quiet period of building support, the last two years have seen major steps forward for the state. All the years of hard work are now coming to fruition at a rapid pace.

It's an exciting time for Death with Dignity, and we look forward to keeping you up to date with these and other states' legislative developments.

Read more: Vermont Senate Committee Endorses Death with Dignity

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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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