Last updated on: 7/23/2008 | Author: ProCon.org

Hemlock Society (1980-2003) Biography

Position:
Pro to the question "Should Euthanasia or Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?"
Reasoning:

“[Hemlock Society was] the largest and oldest right-to-die organization in the US fighting for voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to be made legal for terminally and hopelessly ill adults…”

Derek Humphry, “Farewell to Hemlock – Killed By It’s Name: The Modern History of the US Right-to-Die Movement,” www.assistedsuicide.org, Feb. 21, 2005

Description:

“Born in 1980 in my [Derek Humphry] garage in Santa Monica, California, Hemlock went on to be the largest and oldest right-to-die organization in America fighting for voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide to be made legal for terminally and hopelessly ill adults…

Remnants of Hemlock include…End-of-Life Choices (Denver) and…Compassion in Dying (Portland), both now merged and controlled by one new board with yet another name (a fusion of the two?) called ‘Compassion and Choices‘.”

Derek Humphry, “Farewell to Hemlock – Killed By It’s Name: The Modern History of the US Right-to-Die Movement,” www.assistedsuicide.org, Feb. 21, 2005

Mission:

“Hemlock’s principal achievements during a stormy life were to:

  • Educate and advise thousands of dying people to know how to bring about their peaceful ends when dying, trapped in a ruined body, or just plain terminally old, frail, and tired of life.
  • Help was given through specialized literature and moral support. The organization never provided hands-on assistance to people to die because it needed, then, to stay within the law, although many of its members quietly, unofficially, did see one another off.
  • Draft and launch the first model law governing euthanasia and assisted suicide in America, 1986, from which many others which were to follow were refined.
  • Financially and physically back referenda in California, Washington State, Michigan, Oregon, and Maine. Only Oregon succeeded (1994 & again in 1997). That law remains under Federal Government threat of extinction via the courts.
  • Found and launch a national ‘Caring Friends’ program so that maximum personal support and assistance in dying, within the law, could be ensured to every member.”

Derek Humphry, “Farewell to Hemlock – Killed By It’s Name: The Modern History of the US Right-to-Die Movement,” www.assistedsuicide.org, Feb. 21, 2005

Other:
None found