Final Options Illinois
updated June 12, 2017
Compassion and Choices
Death With Dignity National Center
Final Exit Network
ERGO -- website of Hemlock Society
founder Derek Humphry
Dying With Dignity Canada
Truth In Treatment: A New Movement to Improve End of Life Care: The video of our March 20th program, "Truth In Treatment," featuring Kim Callinan of Compassion & Choices, state representative Robyn Gabel and former state rep Julie Hamos, is now available on our YouTube channel. Check it out -- it's a really fascinating explanation of how we can take control of our own end-of-life experience, and the power of asking questions in achieving a better way of dying.
Front-page New Times story makes clear the overwhelming importance of medical aid in dying
Here's another major milestone for our movement: the publication of a very long (more than six full newspaper pages) front-page story in the New York Times on Sunday, May 25, 2017, profiling John Shields, a distinguished Canadian dying from amyloidosis, who took advantage of Canada's new medical aid in dying law and ended his life peacefully last March.
The Canadian law went into effect in June 2016, and in its first six month, 803 people used it. The article describes its features: "Participants must be adults who are in an advanced state of a 'grievous and irremediable medical condition.' Their suffering must be intolerable and their natural death 'reasonably forseeable' ... Patients must also be deemed mentally capable of consenting to the procedure moments before it happens."
These features are similar to the US laws, and like the US laws, the Canadian law allows a doctor to provide medications which the patient will self-administer to end their life. But the Canadian law also allows the doctor to directly administer the medications. Nearly everyone chooses doctor administration, the article notes. (Editors note: not surprising.)
Mr. Shields' doctor, Stephanie Green, explained why medical aid in dying is a blessing: "'You don't judge a civilization by its riches, but by how it treats its vulnerable ... I think this is a mark of our humanity.' She's never understood doctors who say offering lethal medicine goes against their training. 'I think people go into medicine because they want to help people,' she said. 'This is on the continuum of care of helping people.'"
Mr. Shields is quoted explaining why he was ending his life: "No matter how I looked at it, I saw pain. No matter how I looked at my life from this moment on, I see personal, physical unbearable suffering. I don't want to suffer anymore." He died with courage and beauty, an example and a lesson to us all. Thank you, John Shields, thank you, Dr. Stephanie Green, and thank you to the brave legislators and wise jurists of Canada who have given us this wonderful law.
The clearly unfit Neil Gorsuch has been confirmed to the Supreme
Court. Gorsuch is a deadly opponent of end of life liberty
-- he even wrote a book about it -- and he is a true threat to our
rights. A lifetime appointment for this evil and irrational
person to our highest court is a great tragedy. Read all
about it at the C&C
website and in our February
Victory in DC -- Aid In Dying is now legal in our nation's capital !!! The 30-day period during which the US Congress could overturn it is over, and on Monday, February 20, 2017, aid in dying became available to terminally ill residents of Washington, DC. Read all about it on our blog.
The Illinois End of Life Options Coalition is a joint effort of Compassion & Choices, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, and Final Options Illinois, to pass an aid-in-dying law for Illinois. Please visit the coalition's webpage, and "like" the Coalition's Facebook page!
Aid in dying becomes law in Colorado. Our fervent gratitude to the voters of Colorado, who on November 8, 2016, passed Proposition 106, the Colorado End of Life Options Act, by a nearly two to one margin.
Aid in dying goes live in California: on June 9, 2016, the wonderful new California aid-in-dying law, working exactly like the wildly successful Oregon, Washington and Vermont laws, went live. To the far-sighted legislators of California, and to Governor Brown who signed the law, we say thank you, this is your proudest achievement.
Aid in dying goes live all across Canada: On June 17, 2016, the Canadian parliament passed a powerful new aid-in-dying law for the entire country. This follows the Canadian Supreme Court's historic 2015 decision establishing aid-in-dying as a fundamental human right. Read more on our blog.
We need an aid-in-dying law here in Illinois! It's not just an abstract concept. There are real people right here in Illinois, terminally ill and suffering, who need the CHOICE that an aid-in-dying law will provide. And there are real people whose loved ones died in agony because Illinois doesn't have such a law. Our YouTube channel has some of their stories.
Final Options Illinois is part of the worldwide movement for aid in dying, also called death with dignity. We're part of a broad movement that recognizes that there's way too much suffering at end of life, and there's much we can do to minimize that suffering -- for example, hospice and palliative care.
But suffering at life's end is sometimes extreme, even with the best palliative care. We believe that mentally competent, terminally-ill adults have a basic human right to choose to hasten their death. And we need legal change to establish that right. Suffering people must be able to obtain the means to a peaceful, dignified, humane and pain-free death. And their doctors and loved ones must be able to assist them. Nobody must ever be coerced or encouraged to hasten their death -- but the CHOICE to do so must become a basic human right.
The movement to establish the legal right to control the manner of one's dying is truly worldwide, with work ongoing in many states and countries. Here in Illinois, we have drafted an Oregon-style bill, the Illinois Patient Choices at End of Life Act. Here's a one-page summary of our proposed law, a seven-page briefing paper, and the draft law's full text.
Our movement is making great strides around the U.S. and around the world. If you support this cause -- if this is something you want for yourself and your loved ones -- then please join us. It's the ultimate human right -- and ours is the human rights cause of the 21st century.