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From Your CEOs: Ad·vo·cate

Fall 2005

Advocate. If the mission of Compassion & Choices were summarized in one word, this might be the one. In courtrooms and in legislatures across the country, on First Street and on Capitol Hill, we are the advocates who speak for the pain and suffering of the dying. Our charge -- to make our voice resonate permanently in the hearts, minds, and principles of America -- is a heavy one.

Yet we have gladly accepted it. Compassion & Choices has a lengthy history of campaigning for choice in dying. From the radicalism of the early '80s, our issue has become a topic of serious legal, legislative and scholarly debate. Choice in dying is now an earnest subject, not a revolutionary one.

That makes today the time to take action. While people are thinking and talking about choice in dying, they need a trusted voice, a reliable resource to balance the discussion. Compassion & Choices understands the needs of dying patients and their families and how they may need us to support their advocacy efforts.

We're making progress. California and Vermont are giving serious consideration to a choice-in-dying bill like the one in Oregon, and our Vermont chapter spearheaded a new statewide advance directive registry. In New York and California, we were instrumental in enacting legislation addressing pain management, with more on the horizon. And it seems that Oregon's trials may nearly be at an end, as the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the case by the U.S. Attorney General this fall.

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But we can't let up the pressure. Our opponents are alert to our successes, and they are becoming increasingly vocal -- and amassing significant resources. We must redouble our efforts to educate courts and lawmakers about why choice-in-dying laws are needed, what degree of comfort and control they can offer to the dying, and why they must be vigorously protected.

As we do this, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our members and supporters. You are the bedrock of this organization and the foundation of all our work and accomplishments. While this year has seen a lot of organizational change, you kept our vision at the forefront and our purpose constant: to advocate and to serve people who are dying.

With this support and with such a calling in front of us, we will not falter. This issue of Compassion & Choices Magazine is devoted to advocacy and our legal and legislative efforts. With our combined effort, perhaps this issue, supported by the majority of Americans, will soon acquire appropriate precedence in our courts and capitols.




  
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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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