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New Hampshire Death with Dignity Launches Advocacy Efforts at Kickoff Event in Concord

October 3, 2019

For the past year, we have been working with Bob McCown, a stalwart death with dignity advocate in New Hampshire. Initially, he reached out to Death with Dignity to inquire about connecting with an organization in his state dedicated to promoting assisted dying. When he learned there was no organized group, we worked with him to start one.

New Hampshire Death with Dignity founder and director, Bob McCown.

Launching An Organization

We were proud to take part in the official launch event for New Hampshire Death with Dignity on September 27 in Concord. Attendees included physicians, nurses, and religious leaders. Seven current and former legislators discussed past efforts to pass an aid-in-dying bill and strategies to introduce legislation next session.

“I was surprised and gratified to see the diverse yet unified cross-section of the public wanting a death with dignity bill,” Bob said.

Former New Hampshire State Representative Rebecca Brown, at left, is joined by Death with Dignity State Leadership Incubator Manager Valerie Lovelace and Executive Director Peg Sandeen at the launch event for New Hampshire Death with Dignity on September 27, 2019.

A Personal Connection

Like so many supporters of assisted dying, Bob’s advocacy is inspired by personal experience.

He lost a friend and family member to a prolonged, painful death. Additionally, he told us, “having worked in nursing homes for 10 years, I have dozens of stories of patients who were competent and terminally ill and were forced to suffer unimaginable pain for months. I’m dedicating my participation in the death with dignity movement to the memory of those people who suffered in the past and to those in the future who will not have to.”

Training Advocates

Valerie Lovelace, our longtime grassroots partner in Maine, recently joined our team and attended the New Hampshire event. As our State Leadership Incubator Manager, Val leads our efforts to recruit and train grassroots advocates across the country like Bob who seek to lead policy-reform efforts in their respective states. She is incorporating lessons learned from her successful efforts leading the state-based campaign to pass the Maine Death with Dignity Act to provide guidance to the leaders of nascent organizations.

Val is excited to collaborate with Bob and other advocates from New Hampshire Death with Dignity as they enter the next phase of organizing.

“The Running Pays Off”

“I remember what it was like when we first started in Maine,” Val recalled. “There were just 14 of us. I thought, someone has to run with this” effort to pass a law. “So, we ran with it. And even though we ran a long time…clearly, the running pays off.”
“You can do this, New Hampshire!” she added.

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