Latest News:

Death with Dignity’s 2019 Year in Review

December 23, 2019

This has been a year full of milestones.

For the first time, two states—Maine and New Jersey—passed death with dignity laws in a single year, joining seven other states and Washington, D.C. in making medical aid in dying available to patients with terminal illness.

 

From left: Maine State Representative Patricia Hymanson, who sponsored the Maine Death with Dignity Act, and Valerie Lovelace of Maine Death with Dignity, who led the grassroots effort to pass the law.

 

Our victory in Maine, many years in the making, could not have happened without the contributions of thousands of supporters across the country. Learn more about the historic Maine campaign and how the law works here.

With the passage of two new laws this year, our movement hit another milestone. As of this writing, 70 million Americans have access to a death with dignity law.

 

Graphic - 70 million Americans

 

This monumental progress is only possible because of supporters like you, who believe in the power of our movement and step up to contribute. You helped us build momentum and break through the noise when it mattered most.

Can we count on you to support our work in 2020 and beyond?

Donate ›

Also in 2019:

Hawaii’s Our Care, Our Choice Act went into effect in January. We began our work to achieve policy reform in the Aloha State nearly two decades ago. Read more about the long road to victory in Hawaii here.

 

Will Kane, part of our on-the-ground team in Hawaii, with Hawaii Governor David Ige at the April 5, 2018 signing ceremony for the Our Care, Our Choice Act

 

We helped launch a new grassroots organization in New Hampshire. State-based advocates who have joined New Hampshire Death with Dignity’s efforts have been meeting with current and former legislators as well as Death with Dignity staff to grow support for assisted dying legislation. Our new State Leadership Incubator Manager, Valerie Lovelace (pictured below) works with advocates in states across the country to provide tools and training to help them lead successful advocacy campaigns.

 

From left: Death with Dignity State Leadership Incubator Manager Valerie Lovelace, New Hampshire State Representative Catt Sandler (D-Strafford County), and Bob McCown, New Hampshire Death with Dignity

 

We doubled down on our work in Massachusetts, testifying at a June hearing on the End of Life Options Act and meeting with lawmakers to push for passage of the bill. Religious leaders and other people of faith have been outspoken in their support of death with dignity legislation. Our friend Sylvia Shaw, a devout Christian, wrote a powerful piece for our website, “The End of Life Options Act: A Religious Defense.” Read it here.

 

Massachusetts death with dignity advocate Sylvia Shaw with her father, Daniel Binney Montgomery, a retired Eastern Orthodox priest.

 

We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. Our 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.

 

 

We have achieved so much this year, but there is still much work to be done. In 2020 we will be strengthening our campaigns in states with active bills, such as Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York. At the same time, we will help early-stage grassroots organizations in Arizona, New Hampshire, Virginia, and other states build capacity and learn the basics of effective advocacy.

With your help, we can lay the foundation for policy change across the country. Will you make a gift today and power our progress?

Donate ›

Thank you for standing with us every step of the way.

11 Comments.

Jean C Edens
December 13, 2019 at 3:41 am

Dear Fellow Activists:
Oregon’s 25 years of “Peace of Mind” for the terminally ill is a wonderful celebration and joined with Maine and New Jersey as the newest states to recognize compassion for the dying in 2019 opens doors of hope for the mid-America states. No one should suffer as my father did before dying of melanoma cancer in 1977. We are kinder to our cats and dogs.
Thank you to the coastal states leadership.
Jean C Edens

Dee Parker
February 23, 2020 at 8:18 pm

I so agree! We are more merciful to out animals , I watched my young 26 year old daughter suffer and die of brain cancer. A mother WORST nightmare. I felt helpless to be able to help her and at one point would have wanted to die myself then be a witness to such suffering. I am giving a speech on this topic in my speech class.
Wounded by the Witness,
Dee

Barbara Vazsonyi
December 13, 2019 at 6:22 am

Can you provide a list of States which honor Death with Dignity?

Thank you,
Barbara

Peter Korchnak, Death with Dignity
December 15, 2019 at 10:11 pm

Currently, the states that have death with dignity laws are California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington; Washington, D.C. has such a law as well.

music music
December 13, 2019 at 6:52 am

Excelente job!! Die with dignity is the best choice.

Davida Rosenblum
December 13, 2019 at 10:15 am

I wonder what is holding up the Massachusetts Death with Dignity law. I would imagine that there is a lot of pushback from the religious right, but is there any way to hasten it coming up for a vote by the full legislature? I am 93, in fairly good health, but with some health issues that could soon turn into a crisis. Is there any way, when the time comes, for me to quickly take advantage of one of the neighboring states that already have a compassionate law for me to go there and not have to wait to establish a residence there that would prolong the process? I have been donating to this cause since I turned 65 and when the Hemlock Society was the only one working to this end. If MA hasn’t passed our law when I need aid in dying, what are my options besides starvation and dehydration?
Thank you for responding,
Davida Rosenblum, Beverly, MA

Sue McKeown
December 23, 2019 at 8:48 am

What do you mean by the “religious right”? If you mean the Roman Catholic Church, their members frequently vote for Democrats, so they cannot necessarily be considered part of the “religious right”. Disability rights groups, like Not Dead Yet, who are non-sectarian, usually oppose such laws. The American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians does as well. They represent no religious viewpoint whatsoever. In the UK, atheists Liz Carr (disabled herself) and Kevin Yuill make cogent arguments against physician-assisted premature death (to use a more neutral term). The opposition is far from just some religious groups.

Brigit Solé-March
December 13, 2019 at 3:16 pm

Is it possible to move forward with medical aid in death (MAID) wherein folks who have finished living would be assisted in leaving this world, as in the Netherlands. Sadly many of us do not have the financial wherewithal or support network to continue living when we must stop working or become expensively incapacitated. Of course it is a sad commentary on our society that euthanasia has become a last hope for some who wish to exit with dignity.

Sue McKeown
December 23, 2019 at 8:37 am

Euthanasia for those who believe they have a “completed life” is being considered in The Netherlands but is not yet legal. Their grounds for legal physician-assisted suicide or euthanasia (most choose euthanasia) are however, much more liberal than any US state or even Canada has even considered. This is also the case in Belgium.

It is a sad commentary that the US (or any society) lacks the compassion to put their dollars to care for the incapacitated who lack financial resources. Choosing to end one’s life prematurely should *never* happen because of financial concerns.

Linda Farrance
December 13, 2019 at 6:27 pm

I will be donating more often and it will be more Mid Month because of the way they send my SS. each month

Dr. Bernard Kruger
December 22, 2019 at 9:56 am

We recently took advantage of the Act in New Jersey. My friend had called a number of months ago, he had been suffering with terminal emphysema for a dozen years or more, and said,”if you can’t help me I’m going to shoot myself.” Thus started one of the
strangest journeys of my life. Getting through the law is not easy, as one of the attorneys assisting us stated “it’s mean”t to be that way for to initiate this action without the appropriate overcite is called homicide. Finally after two months of struggle and the assistance of brave doctors and pharmacists my dear friend was allowed to pass with his dignity. This not about death it is about
ending overwhelming suffering. None of us are getting out of here alive we should have the right to choose our passage.

Leave a Comment: