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.

Death with Dignity Hot Topic in Northeast

VT Gov. Shumlin, photo care of the New England Governors' Conference

Earlier this month, Peg Sandeen mentioned how the recent high-profile work in Massachusetts has elevated and amplified the national conversation about assisted death. And in just in the last week, I've noticed a marked increase in articles about Death with Dignity laws throughout the northeast region. Coverage continued in Massachusetts, and opinion pieces in favor of Death with Dignity popped up multiple times in Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Vermont.

Some highlights:

  • VTDigger and other media outlets picked up Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin's strong statements about what he'd like to see as legislative priorities in the upcoming session. Regarding Death with Dignity:

    It's the right thing to do, and the Legislature will do what's right for Vermonters.

    Shumlin said he supports the Death with Dignity bill because he doesn't understand why the state should interfere in a private decision made by an individual who has a terminal illness and wants to avoid suffering through the last 10 to 14 days of life.

Read more: Death with Dignity Hot Topic in Northeast

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

Radical Hate Group Joins Opponents of Death with Dignity

In 20 years of advocating for Death with Dignity laws, we've never seen anything like this in our movement: opponents taking money from a hate group in an attempt to stop Death with Dignity policy reform. Traditionally, our opponents receive money from Catholic institutions all over the country to restrict policy reform, but in Massachusetts, everything is different about the opponent's fundraising.

Read more: Radical Hate Group Joins Opponents of Death with Dignity

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

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

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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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