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Compassion & Choices to Hold Oct. 4 Conference at National Press Club


News Advisory:

Compassion & Choices to Hold Oct. 4 Conference at National Press Club

Assisted Dying in Oregon: Compassion & Choice

WHERE: The National Press Club, Zenger Room

WHEN: October 4, 11 a.m. ET


On October 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Gonzales vs. Oregon case No. 04-623. Compassion & Choices represented 14 terminally ill, mentally competent Oregonians since the Ashcroft Directive was issued on November 6, 2001. Two plaintiffs remain. Oregon’s seven year experience with Assisted Dying has sparked a national debate on how we die in America.


Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD, Co-CEO, Compassion & Choices, practiced as a nurse and physician assistant for 25 years before beginning a career in law and health policy. As a private attorney, as counsel to the Oregon State Senate, as a managed care executive and finally as a Chief Petitioner for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, she has championed initiatives that enable individuals to consider a wide range of choices to be in full participation in their final health care decisions. Lee testified before the U.S. Congress on end-of-life issues.

She is a contributing author to Physician-Assisted Dying The Case for Palliative Care & Patient Choice Edited by Timothy E. Quill M.D. and Margaret P. Battin PH.D. Former Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts calls Lee “A leader of a social movement whose time has come.”

Charlene Andrews, terminally ill patient, 68, Retired teacher, Nth Stage breast cancer survivor. ’’I know I’m not one that will ever be cured. There are lots of different drugs, and they’re doing so much research now. Who knows what’s coming up? Having the choice gives me comfort. Oregonians like their choices! I don’t want to be one of these people who have their life prolonged unconsciously. And I don’t think I will be"

Julie McMurchie, Amici Curie, The Survivors Brief declaration on behalf of the family of Peggy Sutherland. “We were all hugging and kissing my mom her and telling her it was OK to let go,” “Mom held up the glass of medication and said, `I don’t think anyone understands how much pain I’ve been in.’ Then she drank it herself. She was asleep in five minutes and she died within 20 minutes.” My advice to a family in this situation is to respect the wishes of the terminally ill. It’s their issue"

Paul A. Spiers, Ph.D. Amici Curiae AUTONOMY Inc, Disability Rights Advocate, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Behavioral Neurosciences Boston University School of Medicine. Board of Directors Compassion & Choices. Testified before The Health Committee of the Vermont House of Representatives, Panelist, Vermont Disability Coalition, National Assoc Protection and Advocacy Services, Gerontology Research Center Simon Frasier University, NOW Conference Women with Disabilities.


Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit organization working to improving care and expand choice at the end of life. As a national organization with over 60 chapters and 30,000 members, Compassion & Choices helps patients and their loved ones face the end of life with calm facts and choices of action during a difficult time. Compassion & Choices also aggressively pursues legal reform to promote pain care, put teeth in advance directives and legalize physician assisted dying.

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