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Spelling out end of life views: a spiritual act

Spelling out end of life views: a spiritual act

Religion News Service, Spelling out your views for end-of-life care is a “spiritual’ act:

The Pew Research Center’s new survey on end-of-life treatments found that most people (72 percent) have given at least some thought to what they might want or refuse. And nearly half (47 percent) have known someone in the last five years who was dealing with a life-threatening illness or in a coma.

However, far fewer — just 35 percent — of all adults say they’ve written down their end-of-life treatment wishes in any form of advance directive. Another 31 percent say they’ve talked about this with someone, but one in three Americans have said or done nothing to spell out what should be done if a time comes when they cannot speak for themselves.

Many factors can play into people’s reluctance to talk about or write down values or set limits on aggressive treatment when they are too ill to speak for themselves:

The view that one’s family should make such decisions.

The belief that the end of one’s life is God’s call, not one’s own, to make.

Hope that new cures or treatments will one day be available.

Concern that doctors will not heed one’s wishes at the critical moment.

Brittany Maynard has raised awareness of the death with dignity option – which may be a part of this discussion. Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old Californian who moved to Oregon to access death with dignity, partnered with Compassion & Choices to make medical aid in dying open and accessible in California. The enormous response to Brittany’s powerful story reflects the public’s overwhelming support for death-with dignity – 70% of American’s polled.

Desmond Tutu, Gene Robinson, former ABC Carey and Episcopal Health Ministries have made this issue more public with their support.

Death with Dignity Press Conference: Political, religious community leaders who support Death With Dignity in California will meet Oct. 30, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at the City Hall South Lawn, 200 N. Spring St., Los Angeles.

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