In Your State
Compassion & Choices gains ground in more states each year. Our experts examine factors in every part of the country to expand end-of-life options for all Americans. Click on the map below to see what we’re doing near you and how to get involved!Campaign States Death with Dignity Legal States in Progress
Compassion & Choices’ Arizona state chapter helped introduce a palliative care information bill similar to the one passed in New York. It failed in committee, so we are building strength to advance this bill in the next session.
Our California team is fighting a bill that threatens to leave dying patients in pain. SB 62 would require coroners to alert the state medical board of any death involving certain medications, a requirement that could curb physicians’ willingness to manage pain and suffering adequately. In May, three of our state activists testified before the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Approaching Death: Addressing Key End-of-Life Issues during its second public forum, this time at Stanford University.
Compassion & Choices’ Colorado chapter premiered “Letting Go With Dignity,” its short play about a patient at the end of life who never discussed her medical treatment wishes with her children or her doctor. The play’s successful run led the group to produce it as a film to raise awareness of the importance of making and communicating end-of-life plans.
Compassion & Choices Connecticut’s campaign came close to moving a death-with-dignity bill out of legislative committee, only to be stopped in April by the threat of a filibuster. Advocates and supportive lawmakers from all over the state are preparing for another effort in the 2014 legislative session.
A new Compassion & Choices Florida group formed in Clearwater. These activists already have a dynamic agenda: They hosted attorney George Felos, who represented Michael Schiavo in the prominent case involving his wife, Terri Schiavo. As part of our campaign to stop unwanted medical treatment, Compassion & Choices filed a complaint, Hallada v. Lakeland, against a Florida hospital and nursing home that violated an elderly woman’s DNR.
The Compassion & Choices Hawaii team and the state’s Physician Advisory Council for Aid in Dying continue their careful implementation of aid in dying as a medical practice governed by professional practice standards. The campaign’s television and print ads, public appearances, and workshops have helped raise awareness that death with dignity is available in the state.
Our Chicago team of activists hosted a Compassion & Choices booth at the national Aging in America Conference this year. They also held a National Healthcare Decisions Day event featuring Professor Lisa Anderson-Shaw, who served on the drafting committee for the new Illinois POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment).
Capitalizing on our strong momentum in the East, Compassion & Choices staff organized motivated area advocates and our two local groups to plan future legislative work advancing death with dignity. Six county action teams will focus on increasing support and awareness in key legislative districts and around the state.
A death-with-dignity initiative was narrowly defeated on the November 2012 ballot. But advocates of our Massachusetts campaign are unrelenting. New legislation has momentum, under the leadership of Compassion & Choices Massachusetts and staff, building alliances with key legislators, local advocacy groups and supportive physicians. A hearing may take place before year end.
Advocates triumphed in April as Compassion & Choices Montana defeated HB505, the “Doctor Imprisonment Act” that would have sentenced doctors to 10 years in prison for honoring their patients’ wishes for death with dignity. Our tremendous Montana team and an alliance of local physicians led by Dr. Eric Kress campaigned mightily to preserve access to aid in dying.
Compassion & Choices New Mexico made terrific progress in securing citizens’ right to aid in dying by raising support around Morris v. New Mexico, our case to clarify the legal status of the practice in the state. Plaintiffs Dr. Katherine Morris and Aja Riggs embarked on a death-with-dignity speaking tour that took them all the way north to Michigan. Trial is set for December 2013. Scores of advocates also hit the Capitol and persuaded legislators to pass a joint memorial declaring March 1 “Healthcare Advance Directive Day.”
In May Vermont became the fourth state to affirmatively permit aid in dying – and the first to do so through a legislature. Following that political breakthrough, Vermonters looked to Compassion & Choices for help implementing the new law. Our Vermont team is working al