To promote the legalization in Illinois of Aid in Dying as part of a comprehensive set of options toward a dignified and compassionate death.
If this mission resonates with you, please contact us (via our mailbox) to become involved with our efforts…
The Death With Dignity group is an off-shoot of the UUCUC Social Action Committee. We meet independently every month on the second Monday at 7:00 PM to discuss and plan ways to promote our mission. We continue to look for ideas that will help us to build awareness of the need to have legal methods for death with dignity and compassion. It is important to help this topic get more and more attention in The State of Illinois so that legislation can be introduced in a context of broad support — otherwise, any proposed legislation would be set aside for lack of interest. Send email to our mailbox to become involved.
In June 2017—along with our interim minister, the Rev. Joanne Giannino—we led a church service on the topic of death and dying. Several people spoke about personal experiences. During the service we shared with the congregation ways in which our denomination have been involved in this issue over the decades—the UUA’s passage of the 1988 General Resolution, Right to Die with Dignity and the article in the April 2016 issue of the UU World entitled Choice at the End that discussed the Oregon law and the involvement of members of the Portland UU church regarding that law.
We have shown the 2011 Sundance Winner documentary ‘How to Die in Oregon’ on three separate occasions—at the Urbana Free Library (July 2017), the Champaign Public Library (August 2017), and at church (January 2018). These have been advertised by flyers, in the News Gazette, the radio and on Facebook. For these three showings we had a total of 51 people who were not part of our group—many of whom were not part of the church community—attend. The largest group came to the showing at church, for which we did more extensive outreach, including to Representative Ammons and Senator Bennett. Representative Ammons sent an intern. Our sponsors—who have helped us to advertise the events—have been The Funeral Consumers Alliance, the Champaign County ACLU, and Final Options Illinois (FOI). The latter is a statewide group working to pass a law to legalize aid in dying in the state of Illinois; they have paid all costs we have incurred (to purchase the documentary for public viewing, advertising, printing costs, and refreshments at events).
In October 2017 we worked with Sherry Gilles who organized and facilitated a Death Café (http://deathcafe.com) at church. In November 2017, members of our group attended the Funeral Consumer Alliance annual meeting at Clark Lindsey Village—and provided print materials.
In February 2018 we held two ‘Death over Dinner’ (http://deathoverdinner.org) potluck dinners as a trial run. We plan to schedule more of these potlucks in the future. They provide a good opportunity for discussion about several important topics surrounding death and dying.
In March 2018, we hosted the Young at Heartland’s theatrical production of “What Would You Do?”—a set of four vignettes about families facing end-of-life decisions (including one vignette that specifically addressed Medical Aid in Dying). Young at Heartland is based in Bloomington-Normal and is a part of the Heartland Theatre Company. Forty people were in the audience for this production. It was sponsored by FOI and the McLean County Compassion and Choices, members of the latter group facilitated the discussion.
Other Groups of Interest (with links)
• We are collaborating with the Funeral Consumer Alliance to gain exposure for our mission and publicize events.
• Illinois End of Life Options Coalition www.illinoisoptions.org
Other resources: Links to other related web content
Reach out to our group with questions or feedback or suggested web page content: please contact us (via our mailbox) to become involved with our efforts.
Book: Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The path to a better way of death, Katy Butler. http://katybutler.com/site/knocking-on-heavens-door/
Article written by Barbara Coombs Lee, then president of Compassion & Choices, entitled “Oregon’s experience with aid in dying: findings from the death with dignity laboratory: https://www.compassionandchoices.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/BCL-Annals-rebuild-12-2014.pdf
Press Release entitled, “Colorado Medical Aid-in-Dying Law Working Well on 1st Anniversary Since it Took Effect”: https://www.compassionandchoices.org/colorado-medical-aid-in-dying-law-working-well-on-1st-anniversary-since-it-took-effect/
Blog News entitled, “New Report Shows Implementation of California End of Life Option Act Improving” https://www.compassionandchoices.org/new-report-shows-implementation-of-california-end-of-life-option-act-improving/
The Illinois End-of-Life Options Act: Proposed legislation put forth by Final Options Illinois: http://finaloptionsillinois.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/IL-EOLC-LegislationFactSheet.pdf
Informative article in the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/05/opinion/on-assisted-suicide-going-beyond-do-no-harm.html?emc=eta1
Green Burial options:
Our link on the UUCUC group list: https://uucuc.org/groups#interest-groups