The Arts

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Death with Dignity laws and assisted death are often addressed in books, film, and television. Often these portrayals are fraught with inaccuracies in an effort to make this controversial subject even more of a hot-button issue. Sometimes, however, bodies of work emerge which are accurate and thought provoking.

Below you'll find posts about films or TV programs which take the time to truly look at what it means to die with dignity.

"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

Vermont Legislature Back in Session

Richard Mallary. Photo by John Lazenby, lazenbyphoto.comWith the start of the new year, Vermont began the second half of its legislative biennium. During the 2012 session, their state legislature will take a new look at the bills introduced in 2011, and one which looks likely is the proposed Death with Dignity legislation (H. 274 and S. 103). The text of the joint bills emulates groundbreaking laws in Oregon and Washington.

The proposed legislation has strong support with more than a third of lawmakers in both chambers signed on as sponsors and 64% of Vermont voters in favor of their lawmakers passing the legislation. This popular proposal has been featured by the media as well.

Read more: Vermont Legislature Back in Session

A Year of Assisted Death in Film

It's been quite a year for filmed discussions about assisted death. That statement itself is remarkable considering how taboo the entire subject of death is in many cultures. It's a refreshing change, and one which I, for one, applaud. Through these TV programs and documentaries it's becoming apparent that how we die matters to us and what options we have when we're facing death are important.

The documentary we mentioned most often this year was Peter Richardson's life-affirming film How to Die in Oregon. For four years, Richardson filmed the journeys of terminally-ill Oregonians who decided to request medication to hasten their deaths as allowed under the state's Death with Dignity Act and the effort to pass Washington's Death with Dignity Act in 2008.

Read more: A Year of Assisted Death in Film

Dr. Oz, Criminal Minds, and Death with Dignity

Dr. Oz, Criminal Minds, and Death with Dignity

Montel Williams on The Dr. Oz Show

I believe that if someone is terminally ill and at a point which they feel they can no longer continue to enjoy any quality of life—they've lost their dignity—their doctor should be able to legally prescribe medication to help them end their lives with that dignity.

What a strong statement of support for Death with Dignity laws! Working at the Death with Dignity National Center, it's not unusual for me to come across statements like this from supporters on our Facebook wall, through Twitter, over the phone, or via email. But I noticed this statement through an unexpected avenue. This was how Dr. Mehmet Oz (of Oprah fame) decided to finish his daytime TV program, The Dr. Oz Show, on November 1. It was even covered in a story in the New York Post.

Read more: Dr. Oz, Criminal Minds, and Death with Dignity

July Tweetchat Recording: Death with Dignity & Medical Providers

Many people caught How to Die in Oregon as it wowed film festivals throughout the country and aired on HBO during May and June. One of the unique and critical perspectives shared in How to Die in Oregon was that of Cody Curtis' oncologist, Dr. Katherine Morris. In the documentary, Dr. Morris candidly shared how she decided to honor Cody's request and prescribed for the first time under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.

We were thrilled Dr. Morris was able to join us for our July TweetChat to discuss how Death with Dignity Acts work with health care professionals. (And thank you, everyone, for joining the conversation!)

Below, you can read through the discussion we had via Twitter.

Death with Dignity & Medical Professionals

It's not to late to share your thoughts! Please post them in the comments section below.

Read more: July Tweetchat Recording: Death with Dignity & Medical Providers


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, 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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