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

In the Courts

Morris v. New Mexico

Compassion & Choices’ innovative legal advocacy is one strategy among many used to achieve better medical care and access to a full range of end-of-life options. Our impact litigation is widely acknowledged to have brought much needed attention to end-of-life care, and to have established important principles in this arena, including a federal constitutional right to aggressive pain management.

Active Cases:

O’Donnell v. Harris

This case, on behalf of three Californians with terminal or advanced diseases and a physician, seeks to clarify whether the California Constitution and existing state law allow the medical practice of aid in dying. Aid in dying gives mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can take in their final days to end their dying process painlessly and peacefully, ending unbearable pain and suffering… More

Morris v. New Mexico

This case asks the court to rule that the state’s criminal prohibition of “assisting suicide” does not reach the conduct of a physician providing aid in dying. If the court holds that the statute does not reach aid in dying, the practice will be governed subject to professional practice standards, like other medical practices. This is a test case that could have impact in a number of other jurisdictions…More

Hallada v. Lakeland

“The one thing I promised my mom is that she would die peacefully. She didn’t have to suffer.” – Sharon Hallada

Medical professionals have a duty to respect patient wishes; meeting that ideal is the goal of this case against two Florida institutions for failure to honor a patient’s do-not-resuscitate order (DNR), inflicting aggressive, invasive treatment despite the patient’s clear wish for no such intervention…More

Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, et al., v. United States Drug Enforcement Administration

Compassion & Choices, on behalf of the ACLU of Oregon, four patients and a doctor, is co-counsel with the national ACLU in a landmark case seeking to protect private prescription records from warrantless searches by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)…More

Past Cases

Pennsylvania v. Mancini

Compassion & Choices asserted that the assisted- suicide charge filed against Barbara Mancini in the death of her dying father, Joe Yourshaw, was without foundation because dying patients have a constitutional right to as much medicine as they need to relieve their pain even if it advances the time of death. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized this right in two landmark cases, Washington v. Glucksberg and Vacco v. Quill, both brought by Compassion & Choices’ predecessor organization, Compassion in Dying…More

Baxter et al v. Montana

Compassion & Choices was a co-counsel for this case, in which the Montana Supreme Court upheld the right to legal aid in dying for Montanans…More

Gonzales v. Oregon

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of choice at the end of life. In a 6-to-3 decision, the court ruled the Attorney General’s attempt to intervene in affairs of the state’s aid-in-dying law exceeded his authority…More

Glucksberg v. Washington & Quill v. New York

These Compassion & Choices-sponsored cases won recognition for dying patients seeking a constitutional right to pain-relieving medication even it results in death…More

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