In the News

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Each week we summarize the week's news in the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care.

End of Life Option Act Introduced in California

Press Conference Announcing End of Life Option Act at California State Capitol, 1/21/2015

Representatives from Death with Dignity National Center attended the announcement of the End-of-Life Option Act at the California State Capitol in Sacramento on Wednesday, January 21, 2015. Sponsored by Senators Wolk and Monning, Senate Bill 128 provides peace of mind and control for the terminally ill while safeguarding against coercion for those who are vulnerable. We are pleased to have worked with Senators Wolk and Monning to draft the proposed California legislation, the End of Life Option Act, and we will deliver our political and strategic experts who have worked successfully to pass legislation in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont to assist the California efforts.

George Eighmey, DDNC Vice President, said: "We are proud to be here today to support Senators Wolk and Monning as well as the people of California, in proposing a Death with Dignity law to provide a peaceful and dignified death for those suffering from terminal illnesses. The time is right for California to adopt this law."

The Golden State has always been a leader in progressive policy reforms protecting individual rights. Thanks to this leadership, our movement traces its earliest roots to California, as the Death with Dignity National Center was founded here in 1993. We were proud to join these efforts yesterday.

Watch the full press conference below:

Read more: End of Life Option Act Introduced in California

Brittany's Decision is Hers Alone

In recent days, there has been a fair amount of confusion around Brittany Maynard's statement that she might not hasten her death tomorrow as she mentioned in a video in early October. In her latest public statement, she expressed what many other Oregonians who grappled with whether or when to ingest the medication when she stated, "I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn't seem like the right time right now."

For 12 years, I was executive director of Compassion & Choices of Oregon; an organization dedicated to providing nonjudgmental information on end-of-life options. I worked with terminally ill people all over Oregon to help them navigate the request process for the medication allowed under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act.

Read more: Brittany's Decision is Hers Alone

This Week in the Movement

Brittany Maynard on the cover of People Magazine

Brittany Maynard, a courageous young woman dying from terminal brain cancer, captured the country's attention by publicly sharing her private decision to request medication allowed under Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. The outpouring of support for Brittany and the work we do toward Death with Dignity policy reform throughout the US has been incredible. No one should have to move to another state to have more end-of-life options. With your continued advocacy and support we'll keep working to make sure everyone, regardless of where they live, have the right to control the manner and timing of their own deaths.

Below are a handful of the dozens of media stories related to Brittany and our model legislation, the Oregon Death with Dignity Act:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

Brittany Maynard's Decision to Die with Dignity

Brittany Maynard with her Great Dane, Charlie. Photo by Dan Diaz

A young woman named Brittany Maynard, like so many others, has a compelling story to share. She is bravely facing her death with dignity and control, and when the time is right, she may choose to hasten her own death. If you're not from Oregon, you might wonder how she can do that. In fact, our phones have been steadily ringing due to callers wanting to learn more about Death with Dignity.

In Oregon, Death with Dignity has been legal for 20 years. The Oregon Death with Dignity Act allows mentally competent, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live the right to request medication to hasten their deaths. Once a person completes the request process and receives the prescribed medication, it's fully in the patient's hands to decide whether or when to take the medication, and about a third of the people who request the prescribed medication never take it.

Our hearts go out to Brittany and her family. She and her husband were trying for a family when the news came. After suffering from crippling headaches for months, she learned she had brain cancer in January, 2014. Hardly a year after getting married and 29 years old—her whole life ahead of her—her life was turned upside down in a moment.

Read more: Brittany Maynard's Decision to Die with Dignity

This Week in the Movement

Nylah Kitty, check out the rest of the internet famous cats purriodic table!

Throughout the week, we keep people up-to-date about the Death with Dignity movement and other topics related to end-of-life care through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Below are highlights from the last couple of weeks.

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement


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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