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Lies, lies, lies!

Opponents' False Advertising care of Dignity 2012

Opponents of Death with Dignity are at it again. Like they did in Oregon in 1994 and 1997 and in Washington in 2008, they're running an enormous smear campaign centered around lies and half-truths to scare people away from end-of-life care policy reform. Don't be fooled. These laws have been in effect in two states—15 years in Oregon, no less—and there's not been a single incident to back up any of their claims.

They rely on lies because we live in a country with separation of church and state, and they know they can't convince people to go along with their true reason for being against these laws—their own religious beliefs. If there's any doubt about the source of their objection, check out the largest backers of the opponents in Massachusetts. Two of them, the American Family Association and the American Principles Project, are fringe, anti-gay groups, and the bulk of the rest of the donations came from Catholic Dioceses throughout the US.

If you haven't caught their misdirection attempts, here are some of the highlights from the recent efforts in Massachusetts:

Read more: Lies, lies, lies!

Leonard Nimoy Supports Death with Dignity

Leonard Nimoy

I'm known for playing a character lacking in emotion, but this issue is about human compassion for those suffering and dying. It's maybe the most important issue you've not heard much about, Death with Dignity.

-Leonard Nimoy, in a PSA he did to help the Massachusetts effort

Seeing Leonard Nimoy's video about the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative warmed my heart (you can view the whole video on Dignity 2012's Facebook page). Nimoy hails from Boston, and with his celebrity and commitment to improving end-of-life options in his home state, he'll help many others understand what it means to die with dignity.

As he says in the opening sequence of the video, Death with Dignity laws aren't part of people's lives most of the time. Heck, as a society we're really good at avoiding even the general topic of death the majority of the time. For those not in a field related to end-of-life care, death happens to force its way into people's consciousness only periodically—when writing a student essay about it, facing death as a loved one dies, or contemplating mortality because of a single experience or diagnosis. But what if death were discussed more often?

Read more: Leonard Nimoy Supports Death with Dignity

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

A Case for Supporting Question 2

Dianne Williamson's article about why she supports the Massachusetts Death with Dignity initiative was originally published on the Worcester Telegram & Gazette website.

Jeannette Parker never asked much of her children. So her daughter was devastated when she could not grant her mother's last and perhaps most crucial plea—to help her die.

The Auburn woman had been fighting an aggressive brain tumor for almost five years when she agreed to hospice care. But despite the staff's best efforts, Ms. Parker was riddled with agonizing pain and dependent on others for her basic needs.

"It was, unfortunately, very terrible," said her daughter, Liz Parker Gagne. "As hard as they tried, hospice couldn't bring her relief, peace or comfort. She wanted someone to help her die, and no one could. There was a part of me that wanted to do that for her. But I have a toddler, and couldn't do it without putting my role of a mother in jeopardy. As my mother's caregiver, I felt guilt and failure."

If it passes Nov. 6, the "Death with Dignity Act" comes too late for Ms. Parker, who died this summer at 63. But her daughter is among those who believe that terminally ill patients should have the option of ending their lives when they choose, rather than be required by the state to endure unbearable suffering before they die.

Read more: A Case for Supporting Question 2

Death with Dignity in Massachusetts

Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, psychotherapist, and author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life.

Watching a loved one die without dignity is devastating. Sadly, both of my parents experienced prolonged, painful, and what I considered to be, unnecessarily inhumane deaths.

Twelve years ago, I attempted to discuss end-of-life planning with my mother and father. Because I believe that death is simply a transition to another plane of existence, I tend to approach the topic in a rather direct and practical way, as was the case with my parents back in 2000. I suggested that they do end-of-life planning in advance, to ensure clarity about their wishes and to avoid any potential family conflict. But because neither of my parents were able to discuss or plan for death, at the end they were each kept alive by artificial means and suffered heart-wrenching deaths.

Read more: Death with Dignity in Massachusetts


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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