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Unprecedented: Three States in 15 Months

September 5, 2019

By Death with Dignity Board President George Eighmey, from our 2019 Annual Report


Being a leader in our movement has always required patience. Historically, it has taken years to move legislation and shift public opinion. But the whirlwind pace of progress last year proves ours is a movement whose time has come.

In 2018, we won in Hawaii, a victory 16 years in the making. Then, in April 2019, New Jersey passed an aid-in-dying statute thanks to the tireless work of advocates on the ground. Just two months later, Maine adopted its own statute, nearly two decades after our initial ballot-initiative campaign. For the first time in our movement’s history, multiple states passed aid-in-dying bills in a single year.

Stability and Flexibility

By embracing both stability and flexibility, we have honed a strategy for success.

In conjunction with dedicated grassroots volunteers in Maine, we developed multiple strategies for achieving policy reform so we were prepared to take advantage of new developments. We gathered more than 72,000 signatures for a ballot initiative, while simultaneously working with lawmakers to introduce a bill in the 2019 legislative session.

We have made a long-term commitment to expanding our work in additional states through our Dignity50 State Leadership Incubator, which provides tools and trainings to grassroots advocates working to build support for death with dignity in their respective states. At the same time, we have the resources on hand to respond to the urgent needs of a specific campaign, as we did in Maine.

Looking Forward

Our ultimate goal of policy reform in all 50 states is ambitious, but our momentum grows every year. The political climate in 2020 will be volatile and we’re prepared to break through the noise.

Thank you for standing with us.


September 7, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Excellent! The choice of ending ones life should never be in the hands of government. Arms control should.

Angela McPherson
September 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm

Congratulations.keep up the great work…

Maureen Freeson
September 9, 2019 at 8:53 pm

It had to come, too many of us,
old people ,so tired of pain and the suffering,
Wishing to be gone, lived too long.
Past our useby date you could say.

September 15, 2019 at 3:54 pm

Thank you so much for the hard work to reduce the length of pain and agony for wonderful people who are dying of incurable diseases.

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