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.
The new Compassion & Choices Florida group, which was formed in Clearwater, has been busy organizing and holding meetings. They are motivating local advocates to spread the word locally. More than 200 magazines went out to volunteers to share with friends and family. Marcia Bailey, who leads the group, has been invited to speak at several UU churches and other community forums. She will also represent Compassion & Choices at an upcoming panel featuring several advocates in the end-of-life choice movement in Orlando.
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 Illinois teams have been busy sharing information about Compassion & Choices and end-of-life options throughout their communities. Both groups in the state will participate in various activities to engage residents, including round tables on unwanted medical treatment, film screenings, petition gathering and discussion panels. Jana Edge in McLean County and Bess Schenkier, who leads the Chicago group, will continue to spread the word and organize volunteers.
Capitalizing on our strong momentum in the East, Compassion & Choices staff organized motivated area advocates and our local group to plan future legislative work advancing death with dignity. Currently, the action team meets monthly and has focused on equipping a core group of volunteers with the tools needed to discuss end-of-life choices. Recently, the group participated in the NBC Health Fair in both D.C. and Maryland. They will continue to distribute petitions as well as increase education and support in 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.
Death with dignity prevails in New Mexico! On Jan. 13, 2014, a judge ruled that aid in dying is a “fundamental right” under the New Mexico Constitution. If this ruling, in Compassion & Choices and the ACLU’s landmark Morris v. New Mexico case, is affirmed on appeal, New Mexico will be the fifth state to affirmatively permit aid in dying.
In May Vermont became the fourth state to affirmatively permit aid in dying – and the first to do so through a legislature. Our Vermont team is working alongside Patient Choices Vermont and C&C’s physician allies to implement the practice.