In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted death. The law was blocked for 3 years and finally enacted in 1997. In this 2011 film, Filmmaker Peter Richardson entered the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether – and when – to end their lives by a legally prescribed lethal overdose. Richardson examines both sides of this complex, emotionally charged issue. The documentary won numerous awards, including the grand jury prize for documentaries at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. With the November 2016 passage of Colorado’s law by referendum, six states and Washington DC now offer legal protections for physicians and qualified terminally ill patients for a life-ending prescription as part of a continuum of care and services for competent patients facing the end of their lives. Most commonly known as a “Death with Dignity” law, these laws safeguard and make visible the need for medical assistance in death that some patients experience at the very end. We must be willing to discuss the issues surrounding the ways we are allowed to die in the U.S. Free and open to the public but donation at the door if you like (it helps get the film to the next location). Unrated. 107 min.
Facilitator: Valerie Lovelace, speaker, educator, and founder of It’s My Death, a Maine-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is providing services and education to people wishing to actively explore the meaning of life through embracing the certainty of death, will lead a discussion after the film and answer questions regarding the laws and Maine’s progress. One of IMD’s goals is to help break societal taboos surrounding how we die. Take-away materials will be available.