End-of-Life Choice, Death with Dignity, Palliative Care and Counseling

FRONTLINE Considers Aid in Dying and Other Options

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Frontline Barbara

Recently, PBS’ Frontline aired “The Suicide Plan.” This episode explored the aid-in-dying and right-to-die movements in America, and featured Compassion & Choices as well as other organizations.

We appreciate Frontline’s efforts to highlight this important issue and include Compassion & Choices in the discussion. However, we’d like to clarify what makes our organization distinct. We provide support and advocacy for a wide range of end-of-life choices, including aid in dying. We model an aid-in-dying practice as it should be – integrated with excellent end-of-life care through counseling programs, patient advocacy and nationwide legislative work:

  • Compassion & Choices offers consultation on how to achieve a peaceful death to anyone who contacts us, regardless of where they live. The range of choices includes aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults.
  • Our consultation services, providing information and support, are legal in every state.
  • We assert that the term “assisted suicide” does not accurately describe the practice of aid in dying, in which a terminally ill, mentally competent adult obtains medication to bring about a peaceful death. “Suicide” implies disordered thinking and mental illness. Aid in dying is a rational decision to achieve comfort and control when death is imminent.
  • Our professional, licensed clinical staff evaluates clients and guides the work of volunteers.
  • We make appropriate referrals of suicidal, mentally ill individuals to psychiatric health services and crisis hotlines. Persons with mental illness impairing their judgment are not eligible for our end-of-life consultation services.
  • Compassion & Choices stewards the laws we helped establish in Oregon, Washington and Montana, and we promote aid in dying governed by medical practice standards in Hawaii and other jurisdictions. We highly value openness and transparency.

Thank you for your interest, and if you have more questions about Compassion & Choices and what we do, feel free to contact us at 1.800.247.7421.

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