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A Flourishing Movement: Reflections from Death with Dignity Executive Director Peg Sandeen

January 8, 2020

When I joined Death with Dignity National Center in 2005, Oregon was the only state with an assisted dying law. At that time, the state of Oregon’s statute and of the death with dignity movement overall, was precarious.

Today, Oregon’s law is not just secure, it has paved the way for adoption of similar laws in eight other states and the District of Columbia. In 2005, just 3.5 million people had access to a death with dignity law; now 70 million do.

On November 8, 2019, we honored the pioneering Oregonians who wrote and led the campaign for the first assisted dying law of its kind in the world and celebrated the 25th anniversary of the law’s passage. We partnered with Portland, Oregon-based filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone to create a short film, “Voices of a Movement,” that chronicles the history 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. Watch it below.

Our movement is flourishing far beyond Oregon. The breadth and depth of our involvement in states across the country have increased dramatically in recent years. This fall alone, we helped launch a grassroots organization in New Hampshire, met with numerous advocates and lawmakers in Massachusetts, and are building new partnerships in Arizona and Virginia. We’ll have more updates on the 2020 legislative session in late January.

The enthusiasm among longtime and first-time advocates in every region of the U.S. is palpable, and awareness and support of our issue is at an all-time high.

In 2013, we set an ambitious goal: 10 states with assisted dying statutes in 10 years. Six years later, we’re up to nine. Thank you for powering our progress.

Peg Sandeen, PhD, MSW

Executive Director, Death with Dignity



Linda Farrance
November 19, 2019 at 7:18 pm

I strongly believe in the Death with Dignity movement. We need to bring this to every state in the US, I am a Lung Cancer Victim currently on Immunotherapy Keytruda, I believe in how hard my Drs. are trying to help me but I know down the road I’ll be fighting more medically because of my health. I firmly believe being involved with Death with Dignity should be our choice when we are close to our dying, We do not want to suffer any more than others want their pet’s to Suffer, God Bless Brittany and Stephen fighting for what they believed in! I watched in horror when my father died so badly from Cancer, he deserved much better than to suffer for so long as he did! Thank You for allowing me to vent!

Terry L Kaly
January 27, 2020 at 4:15 pm

I am a fund raiser with 30 yrs experience. I’d like to volunteer in FL . Can NJ send me to the right power person.
Many thx

Ruth Sorbello
February 6, 2020 at 6:38 am

I have 2 brothers who both had to deal with this issue of dying. After years of fighting cancer and watching them unnecessarily suffer, I agree with their decision. No one who is not in the position of needlessly suffering or watching a loved one needlessly suffer should make this very personal serious decision for another person. The dying have no obligation to no one but themselves. I do not want the stigma(forced on them by old white religious fanatics) ( yes! I am angry) associated with their personal decision and am moving to a state where my personal decision is honored. We could not be with them because of our states unreasonable laws. Thank you. R-

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