We were thrilled to meet on Wednesday, February 1, with the two co-sponsors of HB 611, introduced in 2015, which called for enactment of a Death with Dignity statute similar to the one in place since 1997 in Oregon. Rep Pricey Harrison (D-57) and Susan Fisher (D-114) met with us as we reviewed the encouraging developments in the last few months: passage in California, approval by voter referendum in Colorado, passage in Washington, DC by the city council, enactment of comprehensive legislation in Canada. Reps Harrison and Fisher indicated an interest in reintroducing a bill during the current legislative session, with the goal to get at least either to hearings in committee or agreement to have a study group.
Rep Harrison introduced us to several other legislators who were interested in hearing about the legislation, including both GOP and Democratic Senators and Representatives. We were especially pleased to meet with Speaker Tim Moore’s LA focused on health issues who asked probing but fair questions. We promised to provide background materials to help legislators study the history of the law.
Our visit was most timely as the President had just announced his nominee for the Supreme Court, Judge Neil Gorsuch who has written extensively on “Assisted Suicide” including a full-length book. We believe the country will hear quite a bit about Judge Gorsuch’s views on Death with Dignity in the next few months.
Ed Tiryakian, J.D., MBA, founded Dying Right NC in 2015 and is its Executive Director. He previously worked in international banking in Asia before retiring to his native NC.He believes End of Life issues are one of society’s most pressing challenges as we all live longer and the medicalization of the dying process continues to conflict with the individual’s right to choose his or her end.