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October-November News Roundup: Momentum, Moving Messages in Massachusetts

October 31, 2020

While many legislatures had adjourned by October, Massachusetts lawmakers continued work on a number of bills, including the End of Life Options Act. And as we continue our work in Massachusetts with a coalition of organizations and advocates, momentum for passage has been building. On the heels of September’s Boston Globe-Suffolk University poll showing 70 percent support for medical aid in dying, advocates made their voices heard through powerful letters to the editor published in newspapers across the state. Here are just a few:

Letter: Urging Support of End of Life Options Act, 10/12/2020
End of Life Options Act Should Be Supported, Worcester Telegram, 10/18/2020
Massachusetts needs to pass End of Life Options Act, MassLive, 10/18/2020

Our friend, Douglas Barnshaw penned a letter from MassLive in which he explains why he, an 85-year-old former physician with heart disease, supports the End of Life Options Act. “I believe people should have the right to decide how they want their final days to be.” Douglas shared his story with us earlier this year; you can read it here.

Death with dignity, Greenfield Recorder, 10/22/2020
Letter to the editor: Let’s work to make ‘Death with Dignity’ bill law, The Sun Chronicle, 10/27, 2020
Letter: Why I support the End of Life Options Act, The Berkshire Eagle, 11/3/2020

Special thanks to our partner organization, Western Massachusetts Death with Dignity, for coordinating a robust letter-writing effort throughout 2020.

Meanwhile, in Oregon…

A Portland woman spent her final hours encouraging people to vote, KGW8, 10/9/2020

Judy Clymer Wells used the Oregon Death with Dignity Act in September 2020 to die peacefully following a lengthy terminal illness. She spent her final weeks writing letters to voters in swing states and encouraging anyone who would listen to get out the vote in their communities. From the above article:

“A dying woman’s final wish only seemed natural to those who know and love her, like her pastor Rev. Bill Sinkford at First Unitarian Church in Portland.

“It was about her expressing her spirit of life – that was very strong in her – as long as she could,” Sinkford said, “and somehow it just makes perfect sense having known her.”

And finally…Remembering Brittany Maynard

November 1 marked the sixth anniversary of Brittany Maynard’s death. Her mother, Debbie Ziegler, who is a member of our Board of Directors, penned a moving remembrance that honors Brittany and carries her legacy forward. Read it here.



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