After seven months of strategic planning and plain hard work by Compassion & Choices and the Compassion & Choices Action Network, Colorado voted on Election Day to become the sixth state to authorize medical aid in dying via ballot initiative. Compassion & Choices lent its policy know-how and deep understanding of aid-in-dying laws to help petitioners draft the proposed statute, while the Compassion & Choices Action Network provided important financial resources to foster an effective on-the-ground advocacy effort. Bolstered by funds provided by Compassion & Choices Action Network – Colorado (CCAN-CO), the Yes on Colorado End of Life Options committee organized the citizen-led campaign for Proposition 106 after two failed attempts by the Colorado legislature to pass the legislation, in spite of multiple public polls showing overwhelming support for the measure.
“This is a historic day for all Coloradans, and an especially tremendous victory for terminally ill adults who worry about horrific suffering in their final days,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee after the win. “It brings great joy knowing Coloradans can make these deeply personal end-of-life decisions, together with their families, doctors and spiritual advisors. We are delighted the significant investment paid off and are proud to have lent the expertise and resources to empower the voters of Colorado. We congratulate Colorado for becoming the sixth state where more people have peace of mind at the end of life and fewer suffer unnecessarily.”
The law is expected to go into effect the first week of January, meaning 18% of the U.S. population will soon live in an authorized state. The Colorado Access Campaign to ensure access to the law will officially launch in January as well.
After another hard-fought campaign, the District of Columbia is now poised to follow Colorado and become the seventh jurisdiction in the U.S. where medical aid in dying is authorized after the D.C Council passed the D.C. Death with Dignity Act by a veto-proof 11-2 margin. “I want to thank Compassion & Choices, which organized our D.C. grassroots supporters, without whom we could not have passed this bill. They articulated the urgent need for terminally ill residents to have the end-of-life care option of medical aid in dying,” said bill author Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3). “This law is designed to keep the government from taking away people’s freedom and liberty to make these fundamentally personal decisions in consultation with their family, physician and spiritual advisors.”
Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged to not veto . And according the D.C. legislative process, after it goes through the office of the mayor, the bill will be transmitted to Congress for review.
Watch our news feed for updates on the status of this bill and other progress around the country!