About Us

Death with Dignity National Center

…is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that

  • expands the freedom of all qualified terminally ill Americans to make their own end-of-life decisions, including how they die;
  • promotes Death with Dignity laws around the United States based on the groundbreaking Oregon model;
  • provides information, education, and support about Death with Dignity as an end-of-life option to patients, family members, legislators, advocates, healthcare and end-of-life care professionals, media, and the interested public.
  • mounts legal defense of physician-assisted dying legislation.

The greatest human freedom is to live and die according to our own desires and beliefs.

Death with Dignity Political Fund

…is a 501(c)4 nonprofit organization that acts as the political arm of the National Center. The Fund

  • drafts Death with Dignity laws based on the Oregon model;
  • campaigns, lobbies, and advocates for Death with Dignity legislation in the 46 states that lack them;
  • defends Death with Dignity Acts against challenges.

We authored, passed, and defended the Oregon law (1994/1997/2006); spearheaded the successful efforts to pass Death with Dignity statutes in Washington (2008), Vermont (2013), and California (2015); and led the Maine (2000), Hawaii (2002), and Massachusetts (2012) campaigns, which were all defeated only by narrow margins.

Our Unique Brand of Advocacy

Both the Death with Dignity National Center and Death with Dignity Political Fund bring a unique brand of advocacy and political strategy to end-of-life care policy reform. Our work centers around insider organizing with politically savvy legislative and community leaders who are endeavoring to enact Death with Dignity statutes the state legislative process. This is the style of legislative work that seeks not to draw attention to our organization, but rather focuses on the movement and the behind-the-scenes political work necessary to move controversial legislation through the political process.

We work directly with legislators to craft the best bills possible. For example, in California our experts reviewed and revised every version and amendment of the bill; provided expert guidance from the experience of passing and implementing similar laws in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont; and coached sponsors and witnesses through hearings and meetings. In the District of Columbia, we accompanied the District of Columbia bill sponsor in a visit with the Washington Post Editorial Board, resulting in a crucial endorsement for Death with Dignity from the paper. This behind-the-scenes political and advocacy leadership is urgently important to our success.

We partner with local advocates, grassroots groups, and organizations, providing them with technical assistance in terms of political strategy, online organizing, or fundraising, and looking to them for their local expertise and leadership in order to bring Death with Dignity to their state.

For example, in Vermont we were the only national organization active during the entire 10 years of political work it took to achieve legislative reform. We partnered with Patient Choices Vermont to help craft the law and provide strategic support for its passage; educate residents and interest groups about its benefits; and raise funds to underwrite the campaign.

We are currently working with grassroots groups/nonprofit organizations in Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and advocates in several other states.