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This article in The Washington Post on 11 March 2018 is the opening gambit in an important campaign to make doctor-assisted-dying more widely available. I have always supported such changes:-

In Oregon, pushing to give patients with degenerative diseases the right to die

by Rob Kuznia, Washington Post

LOS ANGELES — Shortly after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at age 56, Nora Harris moved to Oregon from California with her husband, thinking it would be a place where she could die on her own terms.

Shortly after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 58, Bruce Yelle migrated to Oregon from the Golden State for the same reason. This was the state, after all, that pioneered medically assisted suicide in America when its Death with Dignity Act took effect in 1997.

As it turned out, both Harris and Yelle were ineligible: People with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis and a host of other degenerative diseases are generally excluded from the Oregon law.

This is because some degenerative diseases aren’t fatal. People die with Parkinson’s, for example, not because of it. Other diseases, such as advanced Alzheimer’s, rob people of the cognition they need to legally request the suicide medications.

Harris — a onetime Virginia Woolf scholar who worked as a library branch manager — died in October at 64, unable to speak coherently, feed herself or recognize Continue Reading »

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A great worker for a long time in the right-to-die movement, JIM CHASTAIN, brought his life to an end on his 92nd birthday. He wrote this note, which son emailed next day. Jim wrote:
To paraphrase Bilbo Baggins – [Tolkien character]

Today is my 92nd birthday. Alas, 92 is far too short a time to live among such excellent and admirable people.

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. But I regret to announce — this is my ‘Final Exit’.
I am going now. I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.

I have had a full, happy life filled with interesting activities and friendly accomplished people. Thank you for the part you have played in making my life so good.
HAVE FUN. [end quote]
Jim died peacefully at home in Florida with his family nearby on his 92nd birthday, March 5, 2018.
He had worked for the Hemlock Society USA, the Hemlock Society of Florida and lastly the Final Exit Network.

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The Hawai‘i House Committees on Health and Human Services and on Judiciary PASSED a Death with Dignity bill, sending it to the full House of Representatives for a vote, likely on March 5.

It wasn’t even close: the 4-1 and 7-1 votes, respectively, in favor of HB 2739, Our Care, Our Choice Act, show the legislators listened to the will of the people of Hawai‘i and advanced a bill more than 75 percent of state residents support.

It’s an even bigger deal because last year, after passing overwhelmingly in the Senate, a similar bill was deferred in a House committee without a vote, and during a recent hearing, Hawai‘i Governor Ige expressed categorical support for the measure.

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Here’s something we did not know until now:

Since the Dutch euthanasia law came into force in 2002, Dutch doctors have helped over 49,000 people to die through euthanasia or physician assisted suicide (PAS). Although euthanasia and PAS remain criminal acts in the Netherlands, doctors are not prosecuted if the due care criteria of the Termination of Life on Request and Assisted Suicide (Review Procedures) Act are met.

The nationalities of the people that died through euthanasia or PAS are not registered but as far as is known all were Dutch nationals. This is remarkable. The Dutch euthanasia law does not exclude foreigners, notwithstanding claims to the contrary by the government during many years.

The English version of the Dutch law now reads:
It is up to the physician to decide whether this (i.e. euthanasia or assisted suicide) is possible in case of a request done by a person who does not reside in the Netherlands and has only recently arrived here.
See https://www.government.nl/topics/euthanasia/is-euthanasia-allowed

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Interesting stats from Switzerland appear to show that suicide is mostly carried out by men, the majority of women use assisted suicide.

Last year, some 10,078 new members joined the euthanasia organization Exit, the group announced. The number of actual assisted suicides went down slightly, whilst the average age of Exit members rose.

At the end of December 2017, the organization had 110,391 members in German-speaking Switzerland and in Ticino, according to the figures in the press release external link. Last year, 734 people ended their lives using Exit’s services, compared with 723 the previous year.

The number of requests from Continue Reading »

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This is a stage play which I recommend you try to attend if you are in the London UK area on the dates.
It is a searing story of an merciful assisted suicide which landed the compassionate person in prison. I did some of the research for the script.– Derek H
My mother, the jailed mercy killer: Marigold Hotel writer Deborah Moggach reveals how her mum helped take the life of an elderly woman

By Mark Wood For The Mail On Sunday, London, 3 Feb.2018

Novelist Deborah Moggach tackles all aspects of life in her bestselling books, but there is one shocking story she has never written about – how her mother helped take the life of an elderly woman.

The case of Charlotte Hough, also a writer, became a cause celebre in the mid-1980s. She was jailed for assisting a lonely 83-year-old spinster to take her own life at the woman’s care home, supplying sleeping pills and ultimately holding a plastic bag over her head.

In today’s Event magazine Moggach, who wrote These Foolish Things, which was turned into the film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, says she could never write about her mother’s harrowing story – but she has given her blessing to a new play about it, called The Promise.

She expects the drama to reopen the debate on assisted suicide, adding: ‘Mum would have liked the thought it might get us all talking.’

Moggach, 69, reveals that her mother told her about her actions immediately afterwards. ‘I did applaud her bravery, but I was aware she could get into trouble for it,’ she says.

It may have been more than three decades ago, but Deborah Moggach remembers seeing the headline that her mum had been charged with murder like it was yesterday

THE PROMISE is at the New Diorama Theatre, London on Feb 21, 23 & 24

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It’s one thing to pass a law, but does is work out in practice? This report is depressing:

Terminally ill patients can now legally choose to end their lives in California, but family members say taking advantage of the new policy is easier said than done.

California’s End of Life Option Act, authored by Democratic Assembly member Susan Talamantes Eggman, has been in effect since June 2016. Eggman recently invited family members whose loved ones had tried to use the new law to testify at a hearing.

Kelly Davis of San Diego spoke about helping her sister Betsy Davis exercise her right to die. She said it mostly worked out, but they hit a roadblock acquiring the lethal dose of medication her sister’s doctor had prescribed.

“We called numerous pharmacies with no success — nobody had it, or they weren’t willing to provide the quantity Betsy needed,” Kelly Davis said. “One pharmacy said they would draw the attention of the FDA if they were to provide amount of Seconal she needed.”

Instead, Betsy Davis died peacefully after drinking a mix of medications that her sister described as a “toxic sludge.”

Other families had different problems. They couldn’t find doctors to prescribe the medication, or staff treating their loved ones in care facilities wouldn’t talk about the law at all.

The strict requirements sometimes block patients from being able to choose death. Under the law, patients must have six months or less to live, be of sound mind, and be able to ask for the medication themselves and be able to administer it without help. Doctors aren’t required to counsel patients about the option or write prescriptions for aid-in-dying drugs.

The most recent report from the state health department shows that 258 people started the voluntary end-of-life option process in 2016, 191 of them received prescriptions, and more than half chose to ingest the lethal medication. Most of them were white adults over age 60.

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Canadian newsletter editor Ruth von Fuchs has produced a big catching-up issue. Its 9-page feature article is “The MAID Chronicles, or How We Got Here From There”. Columns include “Food For Thought”, “What We’ve Been Up To” and “Practicalities”.

Here is the link to print:


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Derek Humphry memoir now at sensible book price

When “Good Life, Good Death”, Derek’s account of his early life, then what caused him to start the Hemlock Society USA in 1980, at the same time kick-starting the American right-to-choose-to-die movement, was published in New York last year it was priced at $34.95. An impossible price!

Now ERGO Bookstore has achieved a discounted price, enabling us to sell it to you for $10.00.

A handsome hardback of 352 large-type pages, all copies are autographed by the author. They can also be inscribed personally to you upon request.
“Good Life, Good Death” by Derek Humphry, with a foreword by Stephen Jamison.

16 photographs, plus informative appendices. $10.00 plus $6.00 shipping.
Free to public libraries upon request.
ISBN-13: 978-1631440663
ISBN-10: 1631440667

Order from www.finalexit.org/ergo-store

[NuTech is short for New Technologies in Self-Deliverance]
After many months of planning, NuTech 2017 was held in Toronto on the weekend of 28 – 29 October. For the first time, the conference was open to more participants than simply those who attended in person in the studio.

Living up to its name, NuTech used live-streaming technology to hold a truly international conference across the world’s time zones. Presenters came from the US, Lithuania, Australia, the UK, the Netherlands and Canada. Those attending were exposed to exciting new ideas and paradigms for ‘self-deliverance’.

The program was opened by Final Exit author and Hemlock Society founder Derek Humphry. Derek presented Continue Reading »

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