Hundreds of candidates are running for office in 2020. This exciting time offers a unique opportunity for Compassion & Choices Action Network to educate candidates on medical aid in dying.
Presidential election years tend to bring increased attention to national public policy issues and local elections. Determining the positions of local and national candidates on medical aid in dying benefits the movement to expand end-of-life options in 2020 and in the future.
With medical aid-in-dying legislation passing in five additional jurisdictions (Colorado, the District of Columbia, Hawaiʻi, New Jersey and Maine) since 2016, the movement to expand and protect end-of-life options is positioned better than ever to highlight end-of-life options as an election issue.
Compassion & Choices Action Network (CCAN) is sending a primer on medical aid in dying to each of the 2020 presidential candidates and many candidates for statewide offices. Our goal is to educate the candidates and their staffs on CCAN and medical aid in dying.
Sending candidates information on medical aid in dying does not guarantee we will receive a response outlining their policy positions. Fortunately, we have fantastic supporters like you all over the country. Working together, we can determine where the candidates stand on medical aid in dying ahead of election day.
This will likely not be the first time many of these candidates run for national or statewide office. By identifying allies now, we can build relationships that support our mission to expand and protect end-of-life options.
How to Ask Candidates
If given the chance, we would like you to ask candidates the following question:
Nine states and the District of Columbia currently authorize medical aid in dying, which allows terminally ill, mentally capable adults to request and receive medication they can self-administer to bring about a peaceful death should their suffering become unbearable. Will you support legislation to authorize medical aid in dying?
Where to ask:
- If a candidate knocks on your door while canvassing;
- by phone or email;
- at a candidate forum or town hall meeting.
Events are often listed on all of the candidates’ websites, social media and state party websites. It’s incredibly important that you attend smaller local events during the primary and caucus season if you can. These events create opportunities for more intimate conversations than could be had in larger venues.
We do not necessarily need candidates to answer on camera or with members of the news media present. We are hopeful that candidates will give thoughtful answers.
Five reasons why candidates should support medical aid in dying
- Every person should be able to make end-of-life decisions that are consistent with their values and best for them and their families.
- Medical aid in dying commands majority bipartisan support among American voters. A 2018 Gallup poll puts support at 72%.
- Medical aid in dying has been practiced for more than 40 combined years in 10 authorized jurisdictions without a single proven case of abuse or coercion.
- In states where medical aid in dying is authorized, studies show that end-of-life care improves overall, even for people who don’t seek it.
- Medical aid in dying is entirely optional. No individual, including doctors or other healthcare professionals, has to participate.