There are three major national groups that work for aid in dying (death-with-dignity.) They differ in their approach, but all three are wonderful, and earn our highest recommendation. We strongly recommend joining and supporting all three.
Compassion and Choices (C&C) is the largest and best-funded group. C&C is leading the charge to get the right to death-with-dignity established in states all around the US. It’s a most wonderful group — please join if you’re not already a member. It also provides trained counselors who can offer advice if you’re suffering intolerably. If this is you, don’t hesitate to call C&C at 800-247-7421.
The Resources Page at the Compassion & Choices website is particularly valuable and contains links to several important fact sheets.
The Death With Dignity National Center, based in Oregon where the first death-with-dignity law was passed, serves as a clearinghouse for the movement and does wonderful advocacy work.
Final Exit Network (FEN) provides uniquely valuable services to suffering, terminally ill people. If you are suffering intolerably and wish to cut your suffering short, the dedicated volunteer “exit guides” of FEN may be able to help. They never provide physical assistance. But they can counsel and support you, and most importantly, they can be present with you, if and when you choose to hasten your death. And FEN can help no matter where you live in the U.S. If you are suffering … if you think you may want to hasten your death … don’t hesitate to call Final Exit Network at 866-654-9156. There are never any charges for exit guide services; it’s all done by volunteers, who are some of the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet.
ERGO, at www.finalexit.org, is the website of Derek Humphry, the founder of the Hemlock Society and of the modern death with dignity movement. There’s a tremendous amount of information there, and many books, e-books and DVD’s that can be ordered. We especially recommend Derek’s book, Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-Deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying, now in its revised third edition, and the ultimate ‘how to’ textbook available worldwide since 1991.
We also strongly recommend subscribing to ERGO’s World Right-To-Die News email list. There’s no charge, and it’s the single best way to stay in touch with what’s going on around the US and around the world.
Around the US, there are many statewide and local groups, including:
- In Oregon: Compassion and Choices of Oregon
- In Washington: End of Life Washington
- In Colorado: Colorado End of Life Options and Compassion & Choices Colorado
- In New York: End of Life Choices New York
- In Ohio: Ohio End of Life Options
- In Vermont: Patient Choices Vermont
- In California: Hemlock Society of San Diego and Compassion & Choices California
- In Arizona: Compassion & Choices Arizona
- In Florida: Hemlock Society of Florida
- In Texas: Texas Death With Dignity
State by state information is available at the C&C website at http://www.compassionandchoices.org/what-we-do/on-the-ground/.
And death with dignity is a worldwide movement.
- In Canada, there’s the magnificent group Dying With Dignity Canada and the Right To Die Society of Canada.
- For Mexico, visit DMD Mexico Por el Derecho a Morir con Dignidad AC
- For Britain, visit the Campaign for Dignity in Dying (and here’s their Facebook page), My Death My Decision, and Friends At The End.
- For Scotland visit Exit Scotland (lots of information there)
- For Australia, visit the magnificent website of Go Gentle Australia, and also check out Exit International, led by author and activist Dr. Philip Nitschke
- For New Zealand visit End of Life Choice New Zealand
- For Switzerland, visit Dignitas
- For The Netherlands, visit the website of NVVE (if you’re not fluent in Dutch, here’s the NVVE site in English.)
- For Germany, visit the German Society for Dying with Dignity (and here’s their press kit in English)
- For Europe as a whole, visit Right To Die Europe.
- For Israel, visit Lilach.
- For South Africa, visit the magnificent website of Dignity South Africa.
- For the entire worldwide movement, visit the World Federation of Right-To-Die Societies as well as Derek Humphry’s directory of all the international groups.
For the broader movement to reduce suffering at end of life, visit The Conversation Project. And in Chicago, check out the Chicago End of Life Care Coalition. “Dedicated to improving the care of dying patients.” A coalition of hospice providers, palliative care doctors, organizations and concerned citizens. An important group with whom we share common cause. And for professionals in the field, there’s the Chicago Bridge — Emerging Professionals in the field of Aging.