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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

The Cultural Shift Has Begun

"We need a cultural shift. Oregon is just a start."

I heard this from a person I chat with periodically on Twitter. It's true, Oregon is just the start.

Oregon's law's been tested at every level:

Read more: The Cultural Shift Has Begun

Dr. Leeat Granek on Coping with Grief

With all of this talk in the media about whether or not grief is a mental disorder, we seemed to have missed the boat about what's most important when it comes to coping with our losses.

In this short video I did for Open to Hope Foundation, I talk about what I've learned about grief from both my own personal experience with loss and my academic research and work in this area.

Read more: Dr. Leeat Granek on Coping with Grief

Weekly TweetChats! Join Us Thursdays

After a brief break for the holidays, our TweetChats will return this Thursday, and with the help of some friends on Twitter, these chats will now be weekly! Please join us online to discuss different aspects of death and dying. Not sure what a TweetChat is? Learn more about them below.

This upcoming TweetChat will be about a blog post that made waves throughout the online end-of-life care community, "How Doctors Die, It's Not Like the Rest of Us, But It Should be." The article relates the story of the a retired physician's friend—also a doctor—who was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer, and how in general, doctors tend to opt for less-aggressive treatment in their own end-of-life care.

To give you a little primer, here are the discussion topics for the TweetChat:

Read more: Weekly TweetChats! Join Us Thursdays

Death with Dignity Introduced in the Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts State HouseEvery state has its own process for passing laws. Among those which allow voters to directly debate and decide on state law through the ballot initiative process, there's even more variability in how an initiative ends up in front of the voters in a general election. There are indirect initiatives which must first go through a state legislature and direct initiatives which go from signature gathering to the ballot. Some states have a referendum process where a state legislature can place a proposed piece of legislation in front of the voters, and others allow initiatives only for constitutional amendments.

The road to the November 2012 ballot in Massachusetts is a particularly winding one, and I checked in with Dignity 2012 to learn more about where they're at in the process and what challenges are ahead. I learned Massachusetts has an indirect initiative process, so after gathering the requisite number of signatures, the initiative goes to the Massachusetts legislature.

Read more: Death with Dignity Introduced in the Massachusetts State House

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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, non-profit organization, has been the leading advocate in the death with dignity movement. Member contributions helped us pass a new Death with Dignity law in Washington, defend the Oregon law, and provide education and outreach programs for the vitality of the death with dignity movement.

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