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Tag Archive: Aid in Dying

  1. Hispanic Public Relations Assoc. Honors Compassion & Choices’ Latino Media Campaign

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    The Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA) awarded Compassion & Choices its 2016 ¡Bravo! Awards for Non-Profit Campaign of the Year” and “Public Education Campaign of the Year” for its Latino media outreach campaign that helped pass California’s historic End of Life Option Act.

    Signed into law last year, the End of Life Option Act took effect in June. It allows terminally ill adults to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take to die peacefully if their suffering becomes unbearable.

    Support for the End of Life Option Act among California Latinos (70%), who are predominantly Catholic, was 10 points higher than among California Catholics as a whole (60%), according to a poll conducted in June 2015 by Goodwin Simon Strategic Research and Probolsky Research. In addition, support for the law among Latinos rose to at least 75 percent according to a poll conducted in August 2015 by the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley.

    The HPRA National ¡Bravo! Awards are the most prestigious awards in Hispanic communications, recognizing the industry’s finest public relations and marketing campaigns from across the country. The winners were announced Wednesday night during a ceremony at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in New York City.

    “Congratulations to Compassion & Choices and all the winners for contributing superb work to the Hispanic public relations industry,” said Antonio Hernandez, president of HPRA’s national board. “As we continue to advance the practice of Hispanic public relations, we are proud of providing a platform to recognize and celebrate Latinos’ achievements in this hyper-competitive profession.”

    “We were able to educate, mobilize and engage Latino voters and California policymakers about medical aid in dying,” said Toni Broaddus, former California campaign director for Compassion & Choices, who is now acting national director of political affairs and advocacy for Compassion & Choices. “Our Latino communications media strategy heavily influenced the passage of California’s End of Life Option Act. Six previous attempts over more than two decades to pass similar legislation had failed.”

    As communications director for Compassion & Choices’ California campaign, Patricia A. González-Portillo, a former journalist for La Opinión, The [Riverside, CA] Press-Enterprise and The Brownsville [Texas] Herald, launched an innovative Latino media campaign. The objectives were to educate Latino voters and policymakers about medical aid in dying, publicize compelling stories to encourage them to become engaged in the issue, and persuade them to support a law authorizing this end-of-life option.

    Compassion & Choices (C&C) recruited Dan Diaz, who had relocated from California to Oregon with his terminally ill wife, Brittany Maynard, so she could utilize Oregon’s death-with-dignity law, and publicized the stories of other Latino Californians whose personal experience demonstrated the need for this end-of-life care option. C&C also recruited labor leader and civil rights icon Dolores Huerta; and actor, director and activist Edward James Olmos.

    Those tactics led to hundreds of online, print, radio and TV news stories in Spanish-language media outlets that exclusively focused on the option of medical aid in dying and endorsements of the End of Life Option Act by various publications, including La Opinión, the nation’s largest Spanish-language newspaper.

    “It is a great honor to receive the nation’s most prestigious awards in Hispanic communications,” said González-Portillo, who is now the national Latino communications manager for Compassion & Choices in its Los Angeles office.

    “I am very excited to expand our Latino efforts nationwide and to continue to provide culturally appropriate material for Spanish speakers,” said González-Portillo, a native Texan born and raised on the U.S.-Mexico border. “All of my colleagues at Compassion & Choices and I are committed to empowering terminally ill Latinos with the tools they need so they can access the end-of-life care options they desire.”

  2. Compassion & Choices Launches Video Ad Campaign to Promote D.C. Death with Dignity Act, Debunk Opponents’ Claims Ahead of Council Vote

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    Advocates for the D.C. Death with Dignity Act have launched an online ad campaign to persuade the legislation’s passage and debunk opponents’ false claims. The ad buy by Compassion & Choices will target DC influencers, elected officials, their legislative staffs and opinion leaders in advance of the D.C. Council’s vote on the bill that would authorize medical aid in dying.

    The legislation would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live the option to obtain a doctor’s prescription for medication to bring about their peaceful death and stop unbearable suffering.

    Last Wednesday, the D.C. Council’s Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill authored by Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3). The first of the council’s two votes on the bill is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18 and the second is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.

    “These ads are designed to educate lawmakers and their constituents about why terminally ill adults need this option to end unbearable suffering and to debunk false claims and fears raised by its opponents who want to impose their values on others,” said Charmaine Manansala, political director for Compassion & Choices. “Terminally ill adults in the District want to be free to make their own end-of-life decisions – based on their personal beliefs and values – in consultation with their family and physician.”

    The  ads, highlighting the bill’s safeguards and popularity and featuring a personal appeal to the D.C. Council and Mayor Bowser from  Ward 4 resident and terminal ovarian cancer patient Mary Klein, will run on websites and social media through the vote. The ads are posted at:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZziF0U79jkA&feature=youtu.be and www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1lp2iUJW0M.

    Two out of three (67%) of D.C. residents support the right of terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives, according to a July 2015 Lake Research poll.

    A growing number of national organizations representing healthcare professionals have endorsed or taken a neutral position on medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults. They include: the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, American Academy of Legal Medicine, American Medical Student Association, American Medical Women’s Association and American Public Health Association.

    Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in five states; the medical practice has a combined 30 years of experience in  Oregon (1998), Washington (2009), Montana (2010), Vermont (2013) and California (June 2016).

  3. DC: D.C. Council to vote on aid in dying

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    We sent the following message to our supporters in Washington, D.C. this week:

    Friend,

    As you may know, this week we achieved a historic victory when the D.C. Council Committee on Health and Human Services voted to advance the Death with Dignity Act to a full Council vote. That means we are closer than ever to authorizing medical aid in dying here in the District. But we still have work to do to ensure that we have the votes to pass the Council.

    For the bill to succeed, it must pass two more votes by the full Council. And we’ll need your help to ensure each Councilmember knows that D.C. residents want the option of medical aid in dying. In the next week, we’re holding two important events, and we’ll need your help to succeed.

    RSVP below for one (or both!) events:

    In preparation for the vote, we’ll be delivering information to Councilmembers’ offices to try to earn their support. Join us to help answer the questions councilmembers asked during lobby day.

    WHAT: Council Literature Drop
    WHERE: John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Lobby
    WHEN: Friday, October 14 at 11:00 a.m.

    Click here to RSVP to help on the 14.

    The Committee of the Whole meeting will take place next Tuesday, October 18. Join us as the Council discusses the Death with Dignity Act and prepares to vote on the measure.

    WHAT: D.C. Council Committee of the Whole Hearing on the Death with Dignity Act
    WHERE: John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Room 500
    WHEN: Tuesday, October 18 at 10:00 a.m.

    RSVP here to join us on the 18.

    We can do this — but not without your help. Please join the fight for expanding end-of-life options in the District today.

    Talk to you soon,

    Donna

    Donna Smith
    DC Legislative and Field Manager

  4. NJ: Aid in Dying Act passes key committee vote

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    We sent the following message to our New Jersey supporters this week:

    Friend,

    I’m writing with great news: yesterday, the New Jersey State Assembly Appropriations Committee passed the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act in a 8-2 vote! That means that we’re one step closer to making history by authorizing medical aid in dying in the Garden State.

    But our work isn’t anywhere near done: the bill will now go to the full Assembly for a vote and the measure still must pass the senate and be signed by the governor. And though we’re happy with the results of yesterday’s vote, the testimony presented showed that there’s still opposition to this important legislation. We need to be sure the Assembly knows that these voices are a minority and that most of the state wants to expand end-of-life options.

    Click here to use our quick and easy tool to email your assemblymembers and ask them to authorize the option of medical aid in dying in New Jersey.

    Supporters like you are responsible for our success. Our yellow shirts filled the room yesterday, and many volunteers provided moving testimony. Now, we’ll need your help to get over the next hurdle.

    The Assembly could vote as soon as later this month, and it’s crucial that they know that their constituents are supportive of medical aid in dying. We can’t win without your support, and if you want medical aid in dying to be available in New Jersey, now is the time to act.

    It’s up to you: click here to ask the New Jersey State Assembly to pass the Aid in Dying Act.

    Talk to you soon,

    Ethan

    Ethan Andersen
    NJ Field Director

  5. Archbishop Tutu, 85, Records Video Saying He Wants Assisted-Dying Option

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    Nobel Peace Prize Winner Endorses Aid-in-Dying Bills Worldwide

    (Cape Town, South Africa – Oct. 7, 2016) Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, 85, has recorded a video saying he wants the option of assisted dying “when the time comes … to pass” and endorsing bills worldwide to authorize this end-of-life option. The video with both English language and Spanish language subtitles and transcripts is posted at: www.compassionandchoices.org/desmond-tutu/.

    Two years ago, the legendary Christian human rights leader authored an op-ed in The Guardian announcing the reversal of his lifelong opposition to assisted dying as an option for terminally ill adults to stop unbearable end-of-life suffering. But he was more ambiguous about whether he personally wanted the option: “I would say I wouldn’t mind,” wrote the Nobel Peace Prize laureate at the time.

    The new video of Archbishop Tutu, the first black Archbishop of the Anglican Church of South Africa, was recorded in June for Dignity in Dying and Compassion & Choices. The two nonprofit organizations are the leading national advocates for medical aid in dying as an end-of-life option in the United Kingdom and United States, respectively.

    “As a Christian, I believe in the sanctity of life and that death is a part of life. I hope that when the time comes, I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life’s journey in the manner of my choice,” says Archbishop Tutu, who turned 85 today and has prostate cancer, in the video.

    The video is timely because Compassion & Choices Action Fund is supporting a citizen-led referendum modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act to authorize medical aid in dying that has qualified for the November ballot in Colorado. The opposition campaign is mainly funded by the Colorado Catholic Conference, including more than $1 million from the Archdiocese of DenverThe Economist recently concluded: “…the groundswell of support for Initiative 145 [now called Prop. 106], and Colorado’s demography, suggest that it stands a good chance of being passed.” Assisted dying for terminally ill adults was authorized in Canada in June 2016.

    “People around the globe, of every religion, recognize Archbishop Tutu’s unquestionable moral authority. His very personal endorsement of medical aid in dying will comfort terminally ill adults suffering in agony worldwide,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, who was an emergency room and intensive care nurse for 25 years before becoming an attorney and co-authoring the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act in the annex of the First Unitarian Church in Portland, Oregon. “His endorsement is a call to authorize this end-of-life option internationally, as a matter of mercy and compassion.”

    “Archbishop Tutu has fought admirably throughout his life for people to have their fundamental rights. His integrity and commitment to doing the right thing makes his support for assisted dying incredibly powerful. As he makes clear in his latest announcement, the right for terminally ill people to die with dignity in the manner and timing of their choosing should be given attention and respect” added Sarah Wootton, Chief Executive of Dignity in Dying in the United Kingdom. “We urge political and religious leaders around the world to take heed of Archbishop Tutu’s words, namely to ensure that terminally ill people are shown compassion and their choices supported.”

    Aid-in-dying bills are under consideration in the District of Columbia, and New Jersey in the United States. Dignity in Dying has supported legislation for the United Kingdom, which is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, and continues to campaign for a change in the law to allow assisted dying for terminally ill, mentally capable adults. While an Assisted Dying Bill was defeated in the UK one year ago, Archbishop Tutu is one of a number of high profile celebrities, doctors and clerics to come out in support of the campaign in the UK during the last four months.

    “My friend, Lord Carey [the retired Archbishop of Canterbury], has passionately argued for an assisted-dying law in the United Kingdom,” Archbishop Tutu says in the video. “His initiative has my blessing and support as do similar initiatives in my home country, South Africa, in the United States, New Zealand and parts of the European Union, and right across the world.”

    “People who are terminally ill should have the option of dignified and compassionate assisted dying, alongside the wonderful palliative care that already exists,” concludes Archbishop Tutu in the video. “I pray that politicians, lawmakers and religious leaders have the courage to support the choices terminally ill citizens make in departing Mother Earth with dignity and love.”

     

  6. New Jersey Assembly Committee Advances Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

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    A bill to authorize medical aid in dying in New Jersey passed an important hurdle today. The New Jersey State Assembly Appropriations Committee voted 8-2 in a bi-partisan fashion to pass the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (A2451). A vote in the full Assembly is expected at an upcoming voting session.

    The bill would allow a terminally ill, mentally capable adult the option to request a prescription for life-ending medication that can be self-administered – if and when the individual chooses – to end unbearable suffering and bring about a peaceful and humane death.

    A 2015 Rutgers Eagleton poll shows that by more than a 2-1 margin (63% to 29%), New Jersey residents stand behind an aid-in-dying bill that “would allow terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription to end their lives.”

    Dozens of aid-in-dying supporters from around the state travelled to the State House to champion the measure.

    “If I do not get on the transplant list, I would like the choice and peace of mind that comes with the option of aid in dying, even if I never use it,” said Susan Boyce, a Rumson, NJ resident with a terminal genetic disease – Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. “The Assembly’s vote today makes it easier for myself and others to fully live out the time we have left without the fear of a long, painful death.”

    Passage of the bill through the Assembly Appropriations Committee adds to the growing momentum behind similar legislation around the country. A Washington D.C. Council panel on Wednesday advanced a similar bill in the nation’s capital, and an initiative that would authorize aid in dying is currently the most popular measure on the Colorado ballot this November. Currently, California, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont have authorized medical aid in dying for terminally ill residents.

    “My sister and I seek the right to die with dignity – for ourselves and for each other,” said Laurie Wilcox, a retired nurse from Clark, NJ. Laurie and her sister Melissa suffer from small cell lung cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, respectively. “We continue to count our blessings, enjoy our time with family and live our days the best we can, though we both know it is a matter of time before one of us will suffer the loss of a lifetime. Today’s vote is a step towards giving my sister and I, as well as others facing terminal illness, the end-of-life options we rightfully deserve.”

    “We are happy about today’s vote,” said Ethan Andersen, New Jersey Field Organizer for Compassion & Choices. “We remain absolutely committed to making New Jersey one of the next states to make medical aid in dying available. There is strong public support and most of the major newspapers in the state have editorialized in favor of this legislation. It is good law and its passage is overdue in the Garden State.”

  7. D.C. Council to hold vote next week

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    We sent the following message to our Washington, D.C. supporters this week:

    Friend,

    I wanted to be sure you heard the news about the lies an opposition group is spreading about our campaign to authorize medical aid in dying in D.C. The group released ads that distort the facts and they’ve sent their videos to the entire D.C. Council.

    Despite an almost 20-year track record with no recorded abuse in Oregon, these opponents continue to claim that the bill would put the vulnerable at risk.

    The opposition did this because they know a crucial vote is coming next week. On Wednesday, the D.C. Council’s Health and Human Services Committee will vote on the Death with Dignity Act.

    We know that the opposition will turn out a large number of people to the markup, so it’s important that supporters like you are there to show the Council that we are committed to passing this bill.

    RSVP today:
    Yes, I will join you at the markup!
    Sorry, I can’t make it, but I will email my councilmembers and tell them I support this bill!

    Councilmember David Grosso will likely be the deciding vote on the committee. If you’ve already emailed your councilmembers, please call Councilmember Grosso’s office at (202) 724-8105 to urge him to support the Death with Dignity Act. Councilmember Grosso represents the entire city, so all District residents should call his office.

    We can do this — but not without your help. Please join the fight for expanding end-of-life options in the District today.

    Talk to you soon,

    Donna

    Donna Smith
    DC Legislative and Field Manager

  8. MA: Join us for a film screening in Lexington

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    We sent the following message to our supporters in the Lexington, MA area this week:

    Friend,

    I’d like to invite you to a screening of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner at the Lexington Community Center. Join us to watch the film with other Compassion & Choices supporters in your area.

    After serving two terms as one of the most popular governors in modern Washington State history, Gardner was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner tells the story of his involvement in the campaign which ultimately authorized medical aid in dying in Washington.

    WHAT: Screening of The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner and discussion
    WHERE: Dining Room, Lexington Community Center, 39 Marrett Rd, Lexington
    WHEN: Thursday, October 6, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

    Click here to RSVP.

    In 2008, as his health deteriorated, Governor Gardner returned to the political spotlight as the driving force behind the ballot initiative that would authorize aid in dying. With the help of campaign strategists and volunteers, Gardner mounted a statewide campaign to generate the 225,000 signatures necessary to get the initiative on the ballot. Join us to watch the story of his inspiring work to expand end-of-life options in Washington.

    This screening is an opportunity to meet fellow advocates for end-of-life options in your community and find out how you can get more involved in our Massachusetts campaign as we prepare for more activity this fall.

    Click here to join us next week.

    Thanks for all you do,

    Marie

    Marie Manis
    MA Campaign Manager

  9. NY: Sign up for outreach in your borough

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    We sent the following message to our New York City supporters this week:

    Friend,

    I’m writing to ask you to join us for one of our most important initiatives this year. In order to recruit more supporters in New York City, we’re launching a public transit signature campaign to raise awareness and answer questions about medical aid in dying.

    Next month, we’ll hold signing sessions in each borough during the evening rush hour to extend our message about expanding end-of-life options to diverse audiences across the city. This could be a huge opportunity to connect with thousands of more supporters, and we’ll need your help to make this campaign a success.

    Click here to sign up for a 2-hour shift in your borough. We’ll be in touch and will work with you to set a time and date.

    At the New York State Fair, we connected with over 6,000 supporters who signed more than 4,200 postcards to their lawmakers. Even when we approached people who were tired or rushed, we received an overwhelmingly positive response.

    If we can recruit anywhere near that number of supporters in New York City, it will be a momentous boost to our campaign. This is our opportunity to make our case to the diverse audience that takes public transit every day.

    We’ll hold a training webinar in October to make sure that you’re prepared for talking about medical aid in dying, and we’ll provide you with all the buttons, stickers, petitions and postcards you’ll need.

    Click the link below to volunteer for a shift in your borough:

    https://www.compassionandchoices.org/public-transit-campaign/

    Thanks for all you do,

    Corinne

    Corinne Carey
    NY Campaign Director

  10. DC: Dishonest attacks from the opposition

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    We sent the following message to our D.C. supporters this week:

    Friend,

    Today, we learned that an opposition group is working hard to stop our progress and block medical aid in dying in the District. The group released ads that distort the facts and spread lies about our campaign. They’ve sent their videos to the entire D.C. Council and have spent large sums to put their message on the radio.

    Ignoring the facts about the Death with Dignity Act, the opposition is associating medical aid in dying with suicide.

    These shameless lies aren’t new — they’re taken from the same playbook the opposition used in Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and California before each state authorized medical aid in dying. And despite an almost 20-year track record with no documented abuse in Oregon, these opponents continue to claim that the bill would put the vulnerable at risk.

    We can’t let our opponents succeed in misinforming the government and the public. Click here to use our quick and easy online tool to ask Mayor Bowser to support medical aid in dying in Washington D.C.

    If the Council passes the Death with Dignity Act, it will be presented to Mayor Bowser for her signature. If she decides to sign the bill, terminally ill Washingtonians would be able to access medical aid in dying. And if she announces her support publicly, it could also help us win the votes we’ll need on the Council.

    Our opponents are afraid of how close we’ve come to authorizing medical aid in dying in the nation’s capital, and their ads are a last-ditch effort to turn the tide. They know that a victory in the District would raise the profile of this issue and embolden similar campaigns across the country. With your help, their efforts to sabotage our campaign will fail.

    The opposition claims that medical aid in dying is about “death for profit” or “death for convenience”. The truth is that medical aid in dying is about peace of mind for terminally ill adults. The truth is that this bill has safeguards to protect patients. And the truth is that most Washingtonians believe in expanding end-of-life options.

    Your support is crucial. Click the link below to tell Mayor Bowser that you want expanded end-of-life options for terminally ill Washingtonians:

    https://www.compassionandchoices.org/district-of-columbia/urge-mayor-bowser-to-support-the-death-with-dignity-act/

    With your help, we can win!

    Talk to you soon,

    Donna

    Donna Smith
    DC Legislative and Field Manager