Governor Kate Brown Proclaims October 27 “End-of-Life Options Day” in Oregon
The proclamation honors visionary end-of-life care advocates on the 25th anniversary of Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act.
Oct 25, 2022
Compassion & Choices praised Oregon Governor Kate Brown for her proclamation that October 27, 2022, is “End-of-Life Options Day” in Oregon. We are grateful for this recognition from the governor’s office and for the long-standing support from Oregon leaders who have helped advance and protect the right for terminally ill individuals to access a full range of end-of-life options, including medical aid in dying.
On October 27, 1997, the Oregon Death With Dignity Act was enacted and the option of medical aid in dying was first made available for terminally ill individuals who wished to peacefully end their unbearable suffering. In the 25 years since, 3,200 terminally ill Oregonians have obtained prescriptions for medical aid in dying, and countless more have found comfort in knowing that the option is available.
“For 25 years, Oregon has led the movement toward prioritizing person-directed end-of-life care,” said Kim Callinan, president and CEO of Compassion & Choices. Callinan explained: “The passage of the Death With Dignity Act not only improved end-of-life care for the small number of people who use the option; data demonstrates that it also leads to improvements in care for everybody. The availability of medical aid in dying has been linked to better doctor-patient conversations, improvements in palliative care training for clinician,; and earlier and more appropriate enrollment in hospice care. We thank Governor Brown for recognizing the importance of continuing to raise awareness about planning for life’s inevitable end.”
As the proclamation notes, “Oregonians’ political courage in passing the Oregon Death With Dignity Act transformed the end-of-life movement and paved the way for medical aid in dying to become an end-of-life option in a growing number of jurisdictions.” Ten other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation similar to Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act, which has expanded the option of medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients to more than one out of five Americans (22%).
Compassion & Choices commemorated End of Life Options Day at a celebration for the 25th anniversary of the implementation of the Oregon 's law on October 27. Among the attendees was former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts, the first woman elected to the position in the state as well as a longtime friend and ally of Compassion & Choices and the end-of-life options movement. Her late husband, accomplished legislator Frank Roberts, introduced three bills to legalize aid in dying between 1987 and 1991 before his death from cancer in 1993. "I feel so blessed to be here today surrounded by the Oregon heroes, many of them of our state's successful Death With Dignity Law," she said at the event. "I want to thank all of you who are here for your courage and your leadership. Our state and this nation owe you their gratitude. Thank you."
The proclamation acknowledges that “Oregon has long recognized that terminally ill adults have a fundamental right to determine their own treatment options as they near the end of life, free from coercion and in accordance with their own values, beliefs, and personal preferences.”
Compassion & Choices is delighted to have Governor Brown affirm these ideals, and is proud to be a part of Oregon’s long and pioneering tradition of expanding and improving end-of-life options.