Barbara Coombs Lee
(born 1947), P.A., F.N.P., J.D., is an American
activist, author, former family nurse practitioner and physician assistant, and president of Compassion & Choices
, a national non-profit organization dedicated to expanding and protecting the rights of the terminally ill.
Staffing the Oregon Senate Healthcare and Bioethics committee in 1991, Coombs Lee helped Oregon State Senator Frank L. Roberts
as he proposed one of the first aid in dying
laws in the nation. When Coombs Lee read in her church bulletin
that congregants wanted to draft a Death with Dignity bill and place it before Oregon voters, she volunteered to help. She joined the Oregon Right to Die Political Action Committee that had already been working on draft bills, and was later selected, together with Elven Sinnard and Dr. Peter Goodwin, to be a chief petitioner who filed the Oregon Death with Dignity Act
as a citizens' initiative in 1994. Coombs Lee served as spokesperson for the group through two statewide campaigns and 10 years defending against attacks on the nation's first Death with Dignity law in both the judicial and legislative arenas. Senator Roberts' wife, Oregon Governor Barbara Roberts
, became a good friend and a tireless and outspoken advocate for Death with Dignity. Read more...