Our movement took two more huge steps forward this month.
On November 8th, voters in Colorado passed Proposition 106, the Colorado End of Life Options Act, by an overwhelming 65% to 35% margin. The law will go into effect in January. Colorado thus becomes the sixth state to make aid in dying legal, joining California, Oregon, Washington, Vermont, and Montana.
And on November 15th, the Washington DC city council gave final approval to a strong aid in dying measure for our nation’s capital. The decisive 11 to 2 vote now sends the bill to DC mayor Muriel Bowser, who is expected to approve it within the next few days. The bill could still be overridden by the U.S. Congress, however.
Supporting the DC bill, Dr. Omega Silva said, “I have three cancer diagnoses. As an internist and endocrinologist for 45 years, I know from experience some dying patients suffer unbearably, even if they have the best spiritual support, hospice and palliative care.” Dr. Silva is the first woman president of the Howard University Medical Alumni Association and a former president of the American Medical Women’s Association.
Barbara Coombs Lee, president of the national group Compassion & Choices, wrote: “What gives me optimism is that at least this issue, our issue, cuts so clearly and deeply across both ends of the spectrum and all political parties. Our ballot initiative in Colorado passed with 65% of the vote in an election that saw razor-thin margins for candidates in battleground states like Colorado. In a nation divided, end-of-life choice is one issue on which a solid two-thirds of the people agree.”
Peg Sandeen, executive director of the Death With Dignity National Center, wrote: “We are cautiously optimistic the D.C. bill will become law: 67 percent of District residents support the legislation; the Council vote yielded a veto-proof majority; dozens of D.C. residents have been calling the Mayor’s office to urge her to approve the bill; and the Colorado vote has reverberated across the nation, sending the message that Americans want this option. We are hopeful that our nation’s capital will soon join the ranks of Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont, and Colorado as a jurisdiction where Death with Dignity is legal.”
Best places to read all about it: the website of Yes on Colorado End of Life Options (check out the beautiful photo of celebrating volunteers and watch the TV ads the campaign ran), the Compassion & Choices website, the Death With Dignity National Center website, the New York Times story on Colorado with detailed vote counts, the Denver Post, the Denver Channel, and the Washington Post article.