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Myth 2: It attacks the dignity and threatens the lives of people with disabilities

LIESReality: This lie is quite pervasive. In order to qualify to make a request for medication under the Oregon and Washington Death with Dignity Acts, a person must be an adult (over the age of 18), a resident of Oregon or Washington, judged mentally competent by his or her physicians, and have a terminal illness which will result in death in six months or fewer. Nowhere in these laws does having a disability qualify an individual to request life-ending medication.

Read more: Myth 2: It attacks the dignity and threatens the lives of people with disabilities

Myth 1: It's a recipe for elder abuse

MYTH

Reality: About 15 years ago when Oregon's groundbreaking Death with Dignity Act was going into effect, this lie was commonly spouted as "Duty to Die" by opponents of the voter-approved law. Here's the problem with this assertion: the lengthy request process with multiple doctors and witnesses as well as the requirement that a terminally-ill person must self-administer the six ounces of medication makes this virtually impossible.

The process to request the prescription starts with an oral request to a person's attending physician. The terminal diagnosis of six months or fewer to live as well as the patient's mental capability must be confirmed by another physician. The first oral request is followed by a 15-day waiting period; after which, the person can make the second oral request and complete the written request (witnessed by two people). There's then a 48-hour waiting period before a person can pick up the prescribed medication. After the person picks up the prescribed medication at the pharmacy, it is solely the decision of the patient whether or when he or she takes it—and about a third of the people who request the medication never do.

Read more: Myth 1: It's a recipe for elder abuse

Vermont Governor Reiterates His Strong Support

Vermont Governor Shumlin on VPTLast Friday, Vermont governor Peter Shumlin fielded questions and comments from a live studio audience during Vermont Public Television's Town Hall with the Governor. Questions covered many different pressing issues Vermont lawmakers are facing including the economy and affordable higher education. Thirty two minutes into the meeting, host Kristin Carlson read an email from a viewer, Rabbi Robert A. Alper, asking about the proposed Death with Dignity law:

I was dismayed to learn that Senator Sears and Senator Campbell are stalling the bill. Vermonters have a shining record of reasoned debate. How might we bring this issue to the forefront for resolution?

Carlson followed up reading the email with her own question for Governor Shumlin about the proposed Death with Dignity law which has been introduced in both chambers of the Statehouse. She asked, "This is a bill you want. Is it going to happen?"

His response was very direct: "It sure is going to happen while I'm governor. I very much want to sign this bill into law."

Read more: Vermont Governor Reiterates His Strong Support

"How to Die in Oregon" Coming to DVD

How to Die in OregonAt long last! Peter Richardson's acclaimed documentary, How to Die in Oregon, will be released on DVD next Tuesday, February 14th. For about a year, we've received inquiries from people all over the world about how they can get a chance to see the film. With the DVD release, the film will be more widely available for sale; to rent through your local video store or Netflix; or possibly borrow from your nearby library.

If you're thinking about purchasing the DVD, the Death with Dignity National Center is now an affiliate of both Amazon and New Video. Use these links to order your copy, and a percentage of your purchase helps to support our work!

Read more: "How to Die in Oregon" Coming to DVD

Georgia Supreme Court Strikes Down State Law

After years of limbo, the complicated assisted death case in Georgia was resolved today. The Georgia Supreme Court, in an unanimous ruling, found prohibiting the Final Exit Network volunteers from publicly discussing assisted death violated the defendants' First Amendment rights.

The ruling struck down a 1994 state law which made it a felony for anyone "who publicly advertises, offers or holds himself or herself out as offering that he or she will intentionally and actively assist another person in the commission of suicide and commits any overt act to further that purpose." From the ruling:

The State has failed to provide any explanation or evidence as to why a public advertisement or offer to assist in an otherwise legal activity is sufficiently problematic to justify an intrusion on protected speech rights.

Read more: Georgia Supreme Court Strikes Down State Law

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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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