Mission: To promote Death with Dignity laws based on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, both as an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in end-of-life care.
About the Organization: The Death with Dignity National Center was founded in 1994 (and was known as the Oregon Death with Dignity Legal Defense and Education Center until 2003) in Portland, Oregon, following passage of a Death with Dignity ballot initiative that created the Oregon Death With Dignity Act, allowing those who are terminally ill to hasten their own death in consultation with their physician and under strict safeguards. The organization works to expand the freedom of all qualified, terminally ill Americans to make their own end-of-life decisions, including how they die; provides information, education, and support about Death with Dignity as an end-of-life option to patients, family members, legislators, advocates, healthcare and end-of-life care professionals, media, and the interested public; and mounts legal defense of physician-assisted end-of-life legislation.
Current Programs: The Death with Dignity National Center, together with its 501(c)(4) political arm, the Death with Dignity Political Fund, works with legislative and community leaders to enact death-with-dignity statutes through the state legislative process. The organization works directly with legislators, providing them with guidance on crafting bills and helping to shepherd them through the legislature. It also partners closely with local advocates and grassroots organizations, providing technical assistance with respect to strategy, online organizing, and fundraising, and looking to them for local expertise and leadership.
The Death with Dignity Political Fund drafts death-with-dignity laws based on the Oregon model; and campaigns, lobbies, and advocates for death-with-dignity legislation in states that have not passed any. It also has authored, passed, and defended the Oregon law (1994/1997/2006); spearheaded the successful efforts to pass death-with-dignity statutes in Washington (2008), Vermont (2013), California (2015), and the District of Columbia.(2017); and led campaigns in Maine (2000/2017), Hawaii (2002/2017), Massachusetts (2012), and Nevada(2017).
Website: Visitors to the Death with Dignity site can learn more about death with dignity via an FAQ; find out which states have a Death with Dignity statute, which are considering legislation, and which have made it legal by court decision; keep abreast of the latest developments in the Death with Dignity movement; or browse resources about death with dignity for patients and family members, advocates, healthcare providers, and researchers. Visitors also can take action by declaring their support for end-of-life options, sharing their stories, and/or sending a letter to state legislators, as well as how to support the organization.
Funding: The Death with Dignity National Center is funded by foundations, grantmaking public charities, and individuals.