When I joined Death with Dignity National Center in 2005, Oregon was the only state with an assisted dying law. At that time, the state of Oregon’s statute and of the death with dignity movement overall, was precarious.
Today, Oregon’s law is not just secure, it has paved the way for adoption of similar laws in eight other states and the District of Columbia. In 2005, just 3.5 million people had access to a death with dignity law; now 70 million do.
On November 8, 2019, we honored the pioneering Oregonians who wrote and led the campaign for the first assisted dying law of its kind in the world and celebrated the 25th anniversary of the law’s passage. We partnered with Portland, Oregon-based filmmaker Dawn Jones Redstone to create a short film, “Voices of a Movement,” that chronicles the history the history of death with dignity from the perspective of individuals who have played a leading role in passing and protecting death with dignity laws across the U.S. Watch it below.
Our movement is flourishing far beyond Oregon. The breadth and depth of our involvement in states across the country have increased dramatically in recent years. This fall alone, we helped launch a grassroots organization in New Hampshire, met with numerous advocates and lawmakers in Massachusetts, and are building new partnerships in Arizona and Virginia. We’ll have more updates on the 2020 legislative session in late January.
The enthusiasm among longtime and first-time advocates in every region of the U.S. is palpable, and awareness and support of our issue is at an all-time high.
In 2013, we set an ambitious goal: 10 states with assisted dying statutes in 10 years. Six years later, we’re up to nine. Thank you for powering our progress.
Peg Sandeen, PhD, MSW
Executive Director, Death with Dignity