We sent the following message to our New York City supporters this week:
I’d like to invite you to an event that Compassion & Choices is co-hosting with Fordham University’s Department of Sociology & Anthropology in New York City: a film screening of How to Die in Oregon, an award-winning documentary that offers a moving portrait of people accessing medical aid in dying.
After the film, we’ll discuss our New York campaign, the Medical Aid in Dying Act being considered by the legislature, and what you can do to help pass this crucial legislation.
WHAT: Film screening of How to Die in Oregon and discussion WHEN: Tuesday, October 18, 5:30-8:30 p.m. WHERE: Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus, 12th Floor Lounge E. Gerald Corrigan Conference Center, 113 W 60th Street, New York, NY 10023
This meeting will give you the opportunity to hear Fordham University alumni react to the film, meet other advocates in the area, share your personal stories, and find out what you can do to improve New Yorkers’ control over their end-of-life care. Light refreshments will be served.
You’ll also have the opportunity to find out how you can get more involved in our campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in New York State.
We sent the following message to our Long Island supporters this week:
As you may know, Long Island’s Over 50 Fair will be held in Melville on Sunday. And Compassion & Choices will be there to recruit supporters and spread our message.
Compassion & Choices National Board Member Samantha Sandler will present a workshop titled “Dying with Dignity: A Discussion about New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act,” and Long Island Action Team members will be staffing a table at the event to collect petition signatures and postcards to lawmakers. Join us for an informative discussion and a chance to meet other supporters of medical aid in dying.
WHAT: “Dying with Dignity: A Discussion about New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act” at the Long Island Over 50 Fair WHERE: Melville Marriott, 1350 Walt Whitman Rd, Melville, NY 11747 WHEN: Sunday, September 25, 2016 from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
urge them to support the bill in advance of an Oct. 5 vote on it by the Council’s Health and Human Service Committee.
The bill would give terminally ill adults the additional end-of-life care option of medical aid in dying. It would enable them to get a doctor’s prescription for medication they could take to die peacefully in their sleep to stop unbearable suffering. If the Health and Human Service Committee approves the bill on Oct. 5, the full Council will vote on it before the end of the year.
“Aid in dying is one in a range of choices people facing an imminent death can make,” said Councilmember Mary Cheh (3rd ward), a Health and Human Services Committee member who authored the D.C. Death with Dignity Act, during a news conference with bill supporters on the steps of the John A. Wilson Building today.
Two out of three (67%) of DC residents support the right of terminally ill adults with less than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives, according to a July 2015 Lake Research poll.
Dr. Omega Silva, a D.C.-based physician living with cancer and formerpresident of the American Medical Women’s Association, which supports medical aid in dying, spoke at the news conference. She said aid in dying is “consistent with the Hippocratic Oath,” adding the oath means simply that doctors must “do what is right for the patient.”
Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in five states with a combined 30+ years of experience with this end of life option: Oregon (1998), Washington (2009), Montana (2010), Vermont (2013) and California (June 2016). There is not a single documented case of abuse or coercion involving the practice in these five states.
“It remains beyond me why we can’t allow mentally capable adults this option when death is a certainty, why we can’t let them go gracefully, with dignity, and peace,” said Michael Kaplan, President & CEO of the Melanoma Research Alliance, who has lived with AIDS since 1992 and Type 1 diabetes since 1980 and is the husband of the late TV reality star Sean Sasser, who was an HIV activist. “I am angry that we did not have more options at a time when Sean was ready to be out of pain and done. I implore the D.C. Council and Mayor Bowser – please, please, pass the D.C. Death and Dignity Act – and allow others the options my husband and so many others have wanted.”
“The option does not result in more people dying; it results in fewer people suffering,” said Dan Diaz, husband of the late Brittany Maynard. He and his wife had to move from their home in California to Oregon so she could utilize its death-with-dignity law. Diaz said that having the medication did not change Brittany’s ability to fight her brain cancer. “In fact,” said Diaz, “it provided Brittany with more confidence to fight because she didn’t have to be so terrified with how her final few days might play out.”
“As someone who has lived with MS for fifteen years, I always make it very clear that aid-in-dying laws really have nothing to do with people living with disabilities,” said Compassion & Choices Political Director Charmaine Manansala. “Having limited physical mobility, being dependent on others for care or requiring daily care does not qualify a person for medical aid in dying. It is only for people who are imminently dying, and suffering unbearably in the process.”
We sent the following message to our Washington, DC supporters last week:
It’s been almost two years since my wife, Brittany Maynard, shared her story with the world. Brittany was 29 when she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She was determined to have the option of a gentle passing, surrounded by her family, instead of allowing the brain tumor to end her life in an excruciating manner.
Because California had not yet authorized medical aid in dying, Brittany and I moved to Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been law for 20 years. Brittany spent the last few months of her life advocating for the right of people to die on their own terms, and she has been an inspiration for thousands of supporters across the country.
The DC Council will consider medical aid-in-dying legislation early next month. With your help, we’ll be able to convince them to pass this crucial bill.
That means that terminally ill Washingtonians could soon find great comfort in knowing that they have the option of medical aid in dying. And it means that we’re close to making history by authorizing the practice in the nation’s capital and continue the momentum of the last year.
Join me by attending our lobby day and sharing your own personal stories with your elected officials. Help your legislators understand the importance of end-of-life options so terminally ill adults in DC don’t have to face the same dilemma that Brittany did, of having to leave their home after being told they only have six months to live.
Direct contact with legislators played a huge role in the recent passage of California’s End of Life Option Act. Make your voice heard and DC could be next.
We sent the following message to our Massachusetts supporters last week:
Earlier this week, the Cambridge City Council passed a nonbinding resolution in support of medical aid in dying. The vote was a unanimous 9-0! The resolution calls on state lawmakers to pass a bill authorizing medical aid in dying, and will be sent to Cambridge’s lawmakers in the Massachusetts General Court.
The resolution was passed thanks to the hard work of Alice Howard and Margot Kempers, two longtime Cambridge residents. They worked with other citizens, meeting and talking with City Council members to help them understand the importance of medical aid in dying. Cambridge is the first city in Massachusetts to pass a resolution like this, and with your help, it won’t be the last.
Though the resolution is nonbinding, Cambridge’s representatives in the state legislature are sure to take notice of its unanimous support. The resolution specifically asks them to support the Compassionate Aid in Dying Act, which will be reintroduced by bill sponsor Rep. Lou Kafka in January.
With hard work from supporters like you, we can do the same in your town, and show lawmakers that the cities that make up their districts are calling on them to expand end-of-life options. But we can only do this with your help.
Click the link below to sign up to help with a resolution in your town or city and I’ll contact you with more information on how to get started:
We sent the following message to our Bowie-area supporters last week:
I’d like to invite you to a Bowie film screening of How to Die in Oregon, an award-winning documentary that offers a moving portrait of people accessing medical aid in dying.
As you know, our campaign to bring the option of medical aid in dying to terminally ill adults in Maryland has been more successful than ever this year. And now, we’re working across the state to organize the grassroots teams we’ll need to succeed when the legislature goes back into session.
After the film, we’ll discuss our Maryland campaign, the medical aid-in-dying bill being considered by the legislature, and what you can do to help pass this crucial legislation.
WHAT: Film screening of How to Die in Oregon and discussion WHERE: Bowie Public Library, 15210 Annapolis Rd, Bowie WHEN: Saturday, September 24 at 2:00 p.m.
This meeting will give you the opportunity to meet other advocates in the area, share your personal stories, and find out what you can do to improve Marylanders’ control over their end-of-life care. Light refreshments will be served.
We sent the following message to our Georgia supporters last week:
I’d like to invite you to a free screening of the PBS Frontline program, Being Mortal, in Atlanta. After the film, we’ll host a discussion about how to approach the end-of-life conversation. You’ll learn how to prioritize your end-of-life preferences, how to discuss them with your loved ones and doctor, and how to turn them into legal documents.
WHAT: A screening of Being Mortal and discussion WHERE: City of Light Congregation, 3125 Presidential Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30340 WHEN: Saturday, October 8, 2016 at 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Based on the national best-selling book by Dr. Atul Gawande, Being Mortal delves into the wishes of patients facing terminal illness. The video investigates the practice of caring for the dying and explores the relationships between patients and their doctors. It follows Dr. Gawande, a surgeon, as he shares stories from patients and families he treats. When Dr. Gawande’s own father gets cancer, Dr. Gawande’s search for how to best care for the dying becomes a personal quest.
We can’t wait to share this groundbreaking documentary with you. So, bring a friend and join us for a screening and discussion that could provide great help and comfort to you and your loved ones approaching end of life. No RSVP is necessary.
We sent the following message to our New York supporters last week:
I’d like to invite you to an important event happening in Utica on November 3. The Resource Center for Independent Living, an organization that works to advance the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, will hold a conference on medical aid in dying and its implications for the disability community.
The conference will include speakers like me and bill sponsor Sen. Diane Savino, who favor medical aid in dying, and some of our most vocal opponents. So we need supporters like you to take part and demonstrate the state’s strong support of medical aid in dying.
WHATL: RCIL Conference: Medical Aid in Dying, A Community Discussion WHERE: Dr. Michael Schafer Theater, Mohawk Valley Community College, 1101 Sherman Drive, Utica, NY 13501 WHEN: Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.
Sign up on our page, and we’ll send you additional information when registration for the conference opens. The conference costs $25 to attend for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. There’s also a generous scholarship program available for those who can’t afford the cost.
The conference will feature discussion on the religious, legal and ethical implications of the Medical Aid in Dying Act, the bill in the state legislature that would authorize the practice in New York. There are sure to be media present, so it’s important that supporters like you are there to make the case for expanding end-of-life options.
We sent the following message to our supporters in the Baltimore, Maryland area last week:
As you may know, we’ve spent this summer planning how we can pass Maryland’s End of Life Option Act when the legislature returns to session in 2017. And now, we’re organizing the grassroots teams we’ll need to succeed next year.
I’d like to invite you to a meeting for supporters of medical aid in dying led by our Baltimore-based advocates. The meeting will be hosted by our Baltimore Action Team, which coordinates our strategic activities in the area. An action team is a local group of supporters who work to build support for end-of-life options in their community.
WHAT: Baltimore Action Team meeting and discussion WHERE: Waverly Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library, 400 E 33rd St, Baltimore WHEN: Saturday, September 24 at 10:15 a.m.
This meeting will give you the opportunity to meet other advocates in the area, share your personal stories, and find out what you can do to improve Marylanders’ control over their end-of-life care. You’ll also have the opportunity to join the Baltimore Action Team.
Joining our campaign as a member of the action team will allow you to have a close-up view of local activities and a voice in our strategy in the region.
Last night, the Cambridge City Council became the first in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to pass a resolution supporting medical aid in dying. The vote was nine to zero. Mayor Denise Simmons also voted in favor. The resolution will be transmitted to the Governor and to Senators and Representatives from Cambridge in the Legislature on September 15; it calls upon lawmakers to pass a medical aid-in-dying law, which will be reintroduced by Rep. Lou Kafka in January.
“We commend the Cambridge City Council for their leadership and wisdom in making this public statement,” said Marie Manis, Massachusetts Campaign Manager for Compassion & Choices. “This resolution amplifies the voices of Cambridge voters who overwhelmingly support medical aid in dying, and will inspire councils across our state to do the same.”
This campaign to pass the Cambridge resolution was spearheaded by long-time Cambridge residents Alice Howard and Margot Kempers. The resolution was sponsored by Vice-Mayor Marc McGovern and co-sponsored by City Council members Dennis Carlone and Leland Cheung.
Medical aid in dying allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with 6 months or less to live to request and receive a prescription they can self-administer, when and whether they choose, to shorten a dying process that becomes unbearable. It has a combined 30 years of safe practice with no incidents of abuse in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and California. It will also appear on the Colorado ballot as a citizen initiative in November of this year.
The Resolution’s rationale statements include the following:
[A]dvances in science and technology have created medical interventions that often prolong the dying process and increase suffering; and
[A]bsent the availability of aid in dying, patients and loved ones in Massachusetts have become so desperate to relieve suffering caused by terminal illness that they turn to violent means; and
[N]ineteen years of transparent reporting and study of aid-in-dying practice in Oregon demonstrates the utility and safety of the practice in upholding a patient’s right to self-determination; and
Compassion & Choices Massachusetts praised this vote by the Cambridge City Council and the citizens who made it happen, and expects to see similar grassroots efforts in other cities throughout the Commonwealth. Compassion & Choices Massachusetts continues its campaign for the Compassionate Aid in Dying law in the legislature.