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From Your CEOs

Summer 2005

Welcome to the second issue of the Compassion and Choices Magazine. The subject of advance directives and end-of-life decisions has been in the headlines often over the past year. In light of this attention, we are devoting this entire issue to a discussion of end-of-life planning as a resource to you as you complete your advance directive, or as you review and revise it. Your advance directive can provide not only the means to express your wishes, it also serves as a tool to begin meaningful discussions with those you care about and those who will care for you.

Every adult needs an advance directive for health care. Regardless of age, regardless of health, none of us knows when a future event might leave us unable to speak for ourselves. If you were not able to make or communicate decisions about medical treatment, a written record of your health care wishes would prove invaluable.

We understand that for some, filling out an advance directive can be daunting and we hope this will make it easier. It is an important step to ensuring your choices are honored. Without these documents it will become more and more difficult to exercise your choices.

As millions of Americans watched coverage of the Schiavo case earlier this spring, Compassion & Choices responded to more than 26,000 requests for advance directives and other information about end-of-life concerns. While it was disheartening to watch the family members, the courts and even our government grapple with this issue, one positive outcome was the increased awareness that every adult American, regardless of age, must take steps to ensure their wishes are followed.

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Besides raising awareness, the Schiavo case also brought a strong reaction from social conservatives who are working harder than ever to impede our hard-won victories for choice at the end of life. As the opposition takes aim at end-of-life choice, the growing threat to our rights is just now becoming clear. Not only do they not want us to expand choice at the end of life, but they want to take away the rights we already have.

If they prevail and these changes become law, it will have a major impact on the right to choose a peaceful, timely death in a case of permanent unconsciousness. Compassion & Choices is on the offensive in the battle to protect our rights, and will keep you apprised in our publications and on our Web site.

In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions. We are your resource, and we can help you navigate through the legal and medical maze and make sure your wishes are honored.

Now more than ever, we must be vigilant in protecting existing laws, diligent in learning about the opposition, and outspoken in supporting choice.




  
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This article was provided by Compassion & Choices. It is a part of the publication Compassion & Choices Magazine.
 

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