End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

General News

Compassion & Choices Launches Campaign to Legalize Aid in Dying in California

NPR’s “The California Report” aired interviews today with Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee and a local advocate from San Mateo, Jennifer Glass, about our new campaign to legalize aid in dying in California. It started with a series of online ads last week to educate state residents.

“The time is now,” says Coombs Lee. “We all together have made a commitment to see aid in dying accessible, transparent, available to Californians within five years.”

When Glass was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, her mind immediately raced to a vision of a messy, chaotic death.

“The idea that my life is going to end was not so frightening to me,” she says. “The idea that I might drown in my own lung fluid while my family watches me suffer. That is terrifying.”

Glass, 50, says at least having the option of controlling when and how she dies would bring her peace.

You can listen to the audio of the full story here.

 You can read the full story text here.

It’s Crunch Time in Connecticut

In the days to come, our campaign to make Connecticut the next state to legalize aid in dying for the terminally ill enters a critical phase. Your help right now could make the pivotal difference, as the public hearing on HB 5326 has been set for March, 17th at 10:30AM.

We won’t sugarcoat it — in Connecticut and other key states, like New Jersey and Massachusetts, end-of-life choice is up against deep-pocketed special interests that are flooding the airwaves and internet with propaganda.

But this year, they’re finding it harder to get traction. That’s because, thanks to you, Compassion & Choices has a stronger, more sophisticated grassroots presence. We are the only group dedicated to end-of-life issues with professional organizers, dedicated media strategists and experienced lobbyists who work for us — natives with a history of service in the state. More

‘Death With Dignity’ supporters want Mass. lawmakers to take up bill

[Excerpt of article]

(NECN: Alison King) – Massachusetts voters rejected a Death With Dignity law in 2012, but right-to-die supporters on Wednesday say they’re not giving up.

The legislation would allow terminally ill, mentally competent adults the right to end their lives.

“I really feel that when I’m terminally ill, that when it comes my time, that I would like to have some ability to make decisions on how I’m going to die,” Watertown resident Susan Shapiro says.

Shapiro is a clinical worker who has recurring cancer.

“People are afraid to talk about death and its very frightening to them,” she says, “but I think when you talk to people individually, a lot of people would want to have that choice.”

Read the full article here.

“How We Die” Author Praised for Spurring National Death-with-Dignity Discussion

Connecticut Physician Sherwin Nuland Criticized Futile Medical Treatments for Terminally Ill

(Hartford, Conn. – March 5, 2014) Compassion & Choices praised Dr. Sherwin Nuland, the Yale surgery professor and author of an award-winning book, “How We Die,” for initiating a national dialogue about death with dignity.  Nuland died from prostate cancer on Monday at age 83 at his home in Hamden, Connecticut.

“Dr. Nuland was heroic in bringing conversations about dying out of the closet. He openly acknowledged medically assisted dying exists in states like Connecticut where it is considered illegal. Our own fight is to legalize aid in dying and bring a surreptitious practice into the open, where it is safe and accessible to everyone,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, a former ER and ICU nurse and physician assistant who coauthored the nation’s first death-with-dignity law in Oregon.


Death With Dignity a Winning Campaign Issue in Connecticut

With all the issues voters consider, there is never just one reason a candidate wins an election.  But when someone campaigns – and wins – on end-of-life choice, it’s worth noting. That’s exactly what happened in a special election for the Connecticut State Senate this week. Gary Holder-Winfield, already a member of the State House, spoke eloquently on the campaign trail about how watching his own mother’s end-of-life suffering led him to support a death-with-dignity bill. The bill, sponsored by State Representative Betsy Ritter, would legalize the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults in Connecticut.

“Going through that and watching her suffer changed my perspective,” Holder-Winfield told The New Haven Independent.  “The whole time she was in pain. I’d go see her—sometimes she would cry the whole time.” He believes his mother would have wanted the choice to bring a peaceful end to her life.

The candidate Holder-Winfield defeated said he would vote against the legislation.  More