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Week 20/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

Last week (May 11 to May 17, 2015), a proposed Death with Dignity bill received a hearing in Maine and the California bill moved forward through the Appropriations Committee.

California

The Senate Appropriations Committee forwarded SB 128 - End of Life Option Act for budget impact assessment, while Californians continue to debate the issue. Meanwhile, just today, the California Medical Association dropped its opposition to physician-assisted dying and is now neutral on the proposed bill.

Read more: Week 20/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

A Report from Maine Death with Dignity Bill Hearing

This is a report from last Friday's Maine House Committee Hearing on LD1270 - An Act Regarding Patient Self-Directed Care at End-of-Life by our long-time supporter, Valerie Lovelace.

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Val is the executive director of the nonprofit It's My Death, which she founded to honor a promise to her sister Dee, dying of cancer, "to teach others how to be with dying, how to speak and listen to one another the way we had learned to speak and listen, and how to go on even when afraid." She is an inter-faith minister, ordained by calling, studying and practicing in the traditions of her elders and teachers, who are Native American, Christian, and Buddhist. She is a hospice volunteer, artist, and the parent of three adult children. She is also a homeopathic practitioner and a Reiki Master, retired from the U.S. Navy, and a trained EMT. She lives in Maine.

Maine’s Motto is "Dirigo" or "I Direct" or "I Lead" and its tagline "The Way Life Should Be." I'm proud of how hard my legislators work to ensure our laws are fair, straightforward, and seek to ensure as much freedom as possible. It’s a balancing act, for sure. What I love about the process is that at the end of the day, when a piece of legislation is enacted, it’s been hammered over to produce the best and safest possible piece of legislation.

Read more: A Report from Maine Death with Dignity Bill Hearing

Week 19/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

News Scrabble

Last week (May 4 to May 10, 2015) the Vermont House approved a bill that would remove sunset provisions from the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act, the state's Death with Dignity law. Because the representatives amended S.108 with a reporting clause, the Senate must approve the new version of the bill before Governor Shumlin signs it. Earlier, an amendment to repeal Act 39 was defeated 83 to 60. Representative Sandy Haas said in the media that seven patients have used the law since it passed in 2013.

Read more: Week 19/2015 in the Death with Dignity Movement

What hospice volunteering has taught me

In response to our open call for guest posts we received a submission all the way from Hungary.

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Dóra Csikós is a hospice volunteer for Magyar Hospice Alapítvány (Hungarian Hospice Foundation), Hungary’s first hospice house, in Budapest. In 2013 she left the field of marketing communications and turned to end-of-life planning. She is the co-founder of the Életvégi Tervezés Alapítvány (End of Life Planning Foundation), which provides information about end-of-life issues from legacy planning and healthcare decisions to psychological and financial issues to burial services and digital legacy, and holds lectures for the public with experts in the above fields.

I started to volunteer in Budapest’s only hospice house more than a year ago because I wanted to give my time and attention to those who are living behind the walls of the taboo of dying and death. This hospice house is a small, ten-bed institution that is based completely on the classic hospice approach. Volunteers serve in pairs, in two 4-hour shifts daily in addition to nurses, doctors, psychologists, physical therapists, and other professional team-members.

Read more: What hospice volunteering has taught me

Oregon Death With Dignity Act: Four Challenges that Ensured the Law’s Success

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Trial Lawyer magazine, the quarterly journal of the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association.

Just over twenty years ago, on November 8, 1994, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize "physician assisted suicide." On that day, by a margin of 51 to 49 percent, voters passed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, a ballot initiative now codified at ORS 127.800-127.897.

The Death with Dignity Act permits state licensed, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registered physicians and pharmacies, to prescribe and dispense Schedule II and lower controlled substances to competent, terminally ill, adult patients seeking to hasten an impending death in narrowly defined circumstances (see, e.g., ORS 127.815 - Responsibilities of the attending physician).

Read more: Oregon Death With Dignity Act: Four Challenges that Ensured the Law’s Success

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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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