The nation’s first Death with Dignity Act, which authorizes the practice of medical aid in dying, co-authored by Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, was affirmed by an Oregon ballot initiative in 1994. Barbara was the chief spokesperson for this monumental law through two statewide campaigns, in 1994 and 1997.
In 2019, Governor Kate Brown signed SB 579 into law. This bill allows doctors to waive the mandatory waiting period between requests for medical aid in dying if the terminally ill person is not expected to live through the period. SB 579 went into effect on January 1, 2020. Compassion & Choices testified in support of this bill.
Compassion & Choices continues to work in Oregon to ensure that all Oregonians have access to the full range of legal end of life care options, including accessing medical aid in dying and pre-claiming your voice in advance of a dementia diagnosis.
- Attend an Event in Oregon: Participate in virtual activities related to medical aid in dying and advance care planning.
- Volunteer With Us: Join other passionate and dedicated individuals to work to re-enact legislation that improves care and expands end-of-life choice.
- Follow us on Facebook.
Education & Outreach
The Oregon Access Campaign continues the work of normalizing medical aid in dying in medical systems across the state. After more than a year of meetings and educational outreach, in January 2018 Legacy Health, one of the largest health providers in the state, instituted a policy that would reverse the system’s 20 year prohibition of physician participation in medical aid in dying. Compassion & Choices partnered with staff there to draft the policy and to provide education.
Compassion & Choices Medical Director Dr. David Grube has also been active in promoting education across the state, providing in-service training to hospice workers, giving medical aid-in-dying presentations to medical and nursing students and serving as the keynote speaker at the most recent Oregon State University Gerontology Conference regarding compassionate care at the end of life.
Tools and Resources
Learn whether you are eligible for the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
Use our step-by-step guide to chart your journey.
Recursos en Español
Recursos en Español.
Get answers to your questions about COVID-19 and end of life care.
Resources for Providers
Find resources tailored to the needs of healthcare providers.
Dementia Values & Priorities Tool
Use our tool to document your preferences to make sure you get the care you want.
What’s Happening Now in Oregon
Following passage of the law, opponents immediately attempted to invalidate the law through the courts in two court cases – Lee v. Oregon and Gonzales v. Oregon. Compassion & Choices predecessor organization, Compassion & Dying, intervened in both cases, which we eventually won, paving the way for the implementation of the Oregon Death with Dignity Act and the end-of-life options movement.