Compassion & Choices’ efforts are driving exciting progress in a number of state legislatures this year:
Tremendous activity including a press conference unveiling C&C Connecticut’s portrait project, which featured more than 30 local supporters, helped advance Connecticut’s death-with-dignity bill. It will be heard before the Public Health Committee this month. C&C is continuing its aggressive multimedia and grassroots campaigning tactics to ensure the bill clears committee. And last week State Rep. Gary Holder-Winfield won a special election for a Connecticut State Senate seat with 76 percent of the vote. Holder-Winfield spoke eloquently on the campaign trail about how watching his own mother’s end-of-life suffering led him to support death with dignity. Holder-Winfield’s opponent said he would vote against the legislation. More
Stuart Chalfin started a Compassion & Choices Philadelphia-area group in 2012 because he felt compelled by the grim news articles about how people die in modern America and the impressions gained from visiting assisted-living facilities. “I’m not a very active person politically,” admits Chalfin, but he was able to gather 40 contacts to attend his first meeting. He also reached out to State Senator Daylin Leach, a death-with-dignity backer, and arranged for him to come speak to the Philadelphia group this spring.
It was during one of the group’s meetings that Chalfin proposed the idea of starting a legal defense fund to help the Mancini family with legal expenses. He was appalled by the plight of Barbara Mancini, who until recently was battling an “assisted suicide” charge related to the death of her 93-year-old terminally ill father. “That was a horrorshow, to have to go through that situation when her father was terminal. Their legal bills were over $100,000; she lost her job,” he said. Compassion & Choices presented the Mancini family with $20,000 raised through the fund, which will be an ongoing initiative to help others facing unjust prosecution related to end-of-life issues. “It was so abhorrent to me, what they were doing to these poor people,” he explained, “So that was some satisfaction.” At the press conference where the C&C representatives presented the check, Joe Mancini thanked Stuart directly for his support. More
Marina Shuman with volunteer Susan Woods
Compassion & Choices volunteers across the nation not only outnumber staff nearly ten-fold, they fuel the end-of-life choice movement. The new Volunteer Engagement Program unites this rapidly growing community and streamlines the process of organizing the hundreds of active supporters eager to push C&C’s work forward.
The first step for new volunteers is attending a C&C Connections webinar: an overview of Compassion & Choices, the movement and ways to get involved. Volunteers can then advance to Connections Plus for expanded opportunities. Beyond that, advocates have the option to further specialize by continuing through either the advocacy or end-of-life consultation path. More than 50 new volunteers have already participated, and a February 8 New York Times article featuring President Barbara Coombs Lee resulted in 45 inquiries virtually overnight. More
[Excerpt from article]
A national advocacy group has launched a wave of telephone calls in Massachusetts to encourage support of a bill that would allow certain terminally ill patients in this state to obtain a prescription to end their own lives.
Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit group that advocates for “aid in dying” across the country, said it has volunteers and a calling service reaching out to potential supporters in the state asking them to press their lawmakers on the issue. A spokeswoman said the group is also running targeted ads about the issue online and in print.
As part of the push, about two dozen people gathered in the State House on Wednesday morning to lobby lawmakers to move the bill forward.
Read the full article here.
The bill would allow terminally-ill patients to self-administer a prescribed, life-ending drug
[Excerpt of article]
BOSTON (WWLP) – End-of-life option supporters delivered nearly 7,000 petitions signed by voters who support “Death with Dignity.” The bill would give an adult with less than six months to live the option to self-administer a prescribed, life-ending drug. Campaign Manager, Marie Manis, said the proposed bill will offer more choices to terminally-ill patients.
“Many people get a prescription and don’t ever even fill it, but they have the peace of mind knowing that they don’t have to have an awful, horrible ending,” said Marie Manis of Compassion & Choices.
A “Death with Dignity” ballot failed in 2012, but not by much. 51% of Massachusetts voters rejected the idea of legalized suicide.
Read the full article here.