Campaign launched to promote D.C. Death with Dignity Act

Mary Klein_death with dignity

Mary Klein, a resident of Ward 4 in District of Columbia who has terminal ovarian cancer and support D.C. Death with Dignity Act, with her dog Adina

WASHINGTON — Advocates for the D.C. Death with Dignity Act have launched an online ad campaign to persuade the legislation’s passage and debunk opponents’ false claims. The ad buy by Compassion & Choices will target DC influencers, elected officials, their legislative staffs and opinion leaders in advance of the D.C. Council’s vote on the bill that would authorize medical aid in dying.

The legislation would give mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or fewer to live the option to obtain a doctor’s prescription for medication to bring about their peaceful death and stop unbearable suffering.

Last Wednesday, the D.C. Council’s Health and Human Services Committee approved the bill authored by Councilmember Mary Cheh (Ward 3). The first of the council’s two votes on the bill is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 18 and the second is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 1.

“These ads are designed to educate lawmakers and their constituents about why terminally ill adults need this option to end unbearable suffering and to debunk false claims and fears raised by its opponents who want to impose their values on others,” said Charmaine Manansala, political director for Compassion & Choices. “Terminally ill adults in the District want to be free to make their own end-of-life decisions – based on their personal beliefs and values – in consultation with their family and physician.”

The ads, highlighting the bill’s safeguards and popularity and featuring a personal appeal to the D.C. Council and Mayor Bowser from  Ward 4 resident and terminal ovarian cancer patient Mary Klein, will run on websites and social media through the vote. The ads are posted at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZziF0U79jkA&feature=youtu.be and www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1lp2iUJW0M.

Two out of three (67%) of D.C. residents support the right of terminally ill adults with fewer than six months to live to legally obtain medication to end their lives, according to a July 2015 Lake Research poll.

A growing number of national organizations representing healthcare professionals have endorsed or taken a neutral position on medical aid in dying as an end-of-life care option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults. They include: the American Academy of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, American Academy of Legal Medicine, American Medical Student Association, American Medical Women’s Association and American Public Health Association.

Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in five states; the medical practice has a combined 30 years of experience in  Oregon (1998), Washington (2009), Montana (2010), Vermont (2013) and California (June 2016).

Compassion & Choices is the oldest nonprofit working to improve care and expand options for the end of life inthe United States, with 450,000 members nationwide. For more information, visit: CompassionAndChoices.org. – USNewswire

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