Religion

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Death with Dignity laws allow a terminally ill patient to hasten an inevitable and unavoidable death. It's not suicide nor euthanasia; rather, a possible option if the pain from the underlying illness gets to be too much or quality of life too degraded.

While many faith traditions adhere to ancient traditions and understandings of physical life's final journey, modern medical technology has provided new information opening the door for faith leaders to actively reconsider some beliefs. Disease and terminal illness represent less mystery now, and are more associated with scientific and technological problem solving.

Death with Dignity laws offer dying individuals an opportunity to ponder an important final life question, "What is the meaning of my life?" For many, this is a profoundly spiritual question, and answers come, not when an individual is consumed by a flurry of doctor's appointments, treatments or tests, but in the comfort of solitude when an individual feels at peace.

Below you'll find blog posts which discuss the religious and spiritual aspects of death and dying.

Let Me Make Up My Own Mind

Joan Tollifson

Death with Dignity supporter Joan Tollifson sent the email below to the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) about her dismay at the direction the organization has taken in recent years.

Dear Friends,

I am an amputee. I worked long ago at the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley and was active in the disability rights movement. I was inside the Federal Building for the entire month of the 504 occupation. I have been deeply saddened in recent years to see the disability rights movement, which I love, align itself with the most conservative religious forces in our country and oppose things like assisted death, which I fully support.

I'm 65, and if I end up with a painful, terminal illness, I welcome the right to legally terminate my own life. I've been with friends who made this decision, and I know that in Oregon, it cannot be made lightly—there are more safeguards in place and hoops to jump through than you can imagine. I know how deeply grateful those friends were to have this option.

Read more: Let Me Make Up My Own Mind

This Week in the Movement

VT House of Representatives, photo by PCV

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

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

This Week in the Movement

Dr. Morris from How to Die in Oregon

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

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

This Week in the Movement

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

Efforts regarding Death with Dignity:

Read more: This Week in the Movement

New Pope. New Direction?

Wordle: Pope FrancisLike many workplaces around the world, productivity in the offices of the Death with Dignity National Center plummeted earlier this week, as our employees were engaged in the news coverage of the selection of the new pope. The selection and revealing of the new pontiff were the general topics of conversation throughout the day, and our work time together concluded with an energetic round of conclave trivia.

Interesting, I thought, for an organization whose main detractor is the Catholic Church; interesting for an organization whose main program over the past four years was derailed at the last minute by a spending spree by the Catholic Church and Catholic entities. Why were we captivated by the activities of those responsible for stamping out the reforms we're trying so hard to achieve?

Read more: New Pope. New Direction?

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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, 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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