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National Programs Update

Compassion & Choices Advances Agenda in Nation’s Capitol

It was standing room only at C&C’s Capitol Hill briefing this winter. Policy analysts, legislative staffers and others heard us outline our policy agenda to protect and expand end-of-life options, and ensure healthcare providers honor and enable their patients’ decisions.

The briefing had two goals:

» Inform federal lawmakers about Compassion & Choices’ newly developed federal policy agenda, which includes goals such as expanding hospice and palliative care, and reducing unwanted medical treatment.

» Provide federal policymakers an opportunity to better understand medical aid-in-dying legislation, since it recently passed in California and is currently advancing in legislatures and courts in more than half the states.

To that end, C&C invited some of its most compelling advocates for end-of-life choice to share their insights.

Brittany Maynard’s husband, Dan Diaz, addressed the packed room in the Rayburn House Office Building. Diaz described how his wife died peacefully thanks to Oregon’s death-with-dignity law and talked about how gratified she would be that her home state of California has now passed a similar law. Two other people key to advancing the California End of Life Option Act also spoke. Charmaine Manansala, C&C’s California political director, outlined the new law’s provisions. C&C board member Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, who worked tirelessly alongside thousands of other volunteers to urge California lawmakers to pass the legislation, spoke from a religious and ethical perspective.

The audience also heard from Dr. David Grube, a C&C medical director, who shared his experience as an Oregon family physician and answered questions about how aid in dying works in practice.

C&C’s chief program officer, Kimberly Callinan, provided an overview of the federal policy agenda and moderated the event.