Compassion & Choices

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Compassion & Choices
MottoImproving care and expanding choice at life's end
TypeLegal and legislative advocacy, counseling
HeadquartersPortland, Oregon
Official language
English, Spanish
Key people
Kim Callinan, MPP, PMP
$16 million

Compassion & Choices is a nonprofit organization in the United States working to improve patient rights and individual choice at the end of life, including access to medical aid in dying. Its primary function is advocating for and ensuring access to end-of-life options.[1][2]

With over 450,000 supporters in every state, it is the largest organization of its kind in the United States.

History and organization[edit]

Compassion & Choices is the successor to the Hemlock Society,[3] and Compassion In Dying Federation; the organizations merged in 2007. The organization has a staff of 80 people located across the country.

End-of-life consultation program[edit]

Compassion & Choices provides end-of-life consultation for dying patients and their families at no cost. Professional consultants and trained volunteers work by phone or in person to offer assistance in completing advance directives, make referrals to local services including hospice and illness-specific support groups, advice on adequate pain and symptom management, and information on safe, effective and legal methods for aid in dying.

The organization's work is highlighted in the documentary film How to Die in Oregon which won the 2011 Grand Jury Prize[4] at the Sundance Film Festival.

Access campaigns[edit]

Compassion & Choices integrates medical aid in dying into healthcare by implementing and normalizing them into the standard of care after laws are passed in individual states.

Legal advocacy[edit]

Compassion & Choices litigates patient cases related to ensuring adequate end-of-life care and choice. Through litigation, Compassion & Choices protects terminally ill patients' rights to receive pain and symptom management, to voluntarily stop life-sustaining treatments, to request and receive palliative sedation, and to choose aid in dying under state and federal constitutional protections.

Vacco v. Quill[edit]

In 1997, Vacco v. Quill legitimized palliative sedation as a recognized medical practice.

Washington v. Glucksberg[edit]

In 1997, Washington v. Glucksberg emphasized that it was up to states to legalize aid in dying.

Sampson v. Alaska[edit]

Gonzales v. Oregon[edit]

C&C represented 16 terminally ill patient-plaintiffs at the U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon, defeating the Bush administration's challenge to Oregon's Death with Dignity Act in January 2006.

Baxter v. Montana[edit]

Baxter v. Montana authorized medical aid in dying in Montana.

Morris v. New Mexico[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ziegler, Stephen J; Bosshard, Georg (10 February 2007). "Role of non-governmental organisations in physician assisted suicide". British Medical Journal. 334 (7588): 295–8. doi:10.1136/ PMC 1796670. PMID 17289733.
  2. ^ the organization has worked for recognition of a difference between the terms "assisted suicide" and "legal physician aid in dying" in the criminal code. For example, Oregon law draws a distinction between "suicide" and "aid in dying" for criminal purposes. ORS 127.880 §3.14 [1][2]"Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-03-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "End of Life Planning and Paliative Care - Compassion & Choices". Archived from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2009-09-14.
  4. ^ James, Susan Donaldson (February 13, 2014). "Philly Nurse Exonerated in Assisted Death of Her Terminally Ill Father". ABC News. Retrieved May 12, 2016.


External links[edit]