The Oregon Death with Dignity Act turns 25 today.
On November 8, 1994, Oregonians voted to pass the Act, the first of its kind in the world. By voting to enact the nation’s first death with dignity statute, Oregonians demonstrated their belief that terminally ill patients deserved the right to choose how they die.
The historic vote came after a hard-fought campaign led by a dedicated group of advocates, who drafted, promoted, and defended the statute from fierce opposition. Today we celebrate them, as well as the other courageous individuals across the country who have supported and grown the death with dignity movement over the past quarter-century.
Our new short film, “Voices of a Movement,” chronicles the history of death with dignity from the perspective of individuals who have played a leading role in passing and protecting death with dignity laws across the U.S.
The first-of-its-kind statute has survived multiple legal challenges and worked flawlessly, offering Oregonians with a terminal illness a way to control their final days. The law has provided a model for other states across the country: eight states and Washington, D.C. now have assisted dying laws, allowing access to the option to 70 million Americans.
The death with dignity movement’s time has come. Thank you for being a part of history.