Civil rights icon Dolores Huerta has joined Compassion and Choices Action Network to launch videos in English and Spanish urging fellow New Mexicans to support the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act (HB 47) in her home state.
The release of the videos comes the day members of the Senate Health and Public Affairs Committee consider the compassionate bill that would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults the option to obtain prescription medication they could take to die peacefully and end unbearable suffering.
“I watched my mother, Alicia St. John Chávez, die in agony from breast cancer,” says Dolores, who was named one of USA Today’s ‘Women of the Century in 2020. “New México legislators are considering a bill that will allow terminally ill adults to end unbearable suffering…surrounded by their loved ones.”
The videos are part of the ongoing campaign “End of Life Options For All” featuring the New México native, who turns 91 in April. Dolores is a member of Compassion & Choices Latino Leadership Council. The council is a component of Compassion & Choices’ successful outreach to underserved communities that was key to winning campaigns to pass laws authorizing medical aid in dying in California in 2015, and Colorado and the District of Columbia in 2016.
“I believe New Mexicans deserve to make their own decisions about their final days,” Dolores says in the videos. “Please urge lawmakers to pass end-of-life options by visiting compassionandchoices.org/newmexico.”
“End-of-life care options are a civil issue. I hope and pray that the New México Legislature makes it a priority to pass the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act in 2021.”
Dolores Huerta, Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta and her mother were born in Dawson, New México. She is president of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. In 2012, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. In 2019, lawmakers in New México honored one of the most recognizable Hispanic/Latinas in the United States by naming February 27 as ‘Dolores Huerta Day.’
“The Dolores Huerta Foundation believes all terminally-ill Americans should have the option to decide when they want to put an end to their suffering to die peacefully,” Dolores said during a recent interview. “End-of-life care options are a civil issue. I hope and pray that the New México Legislature makes it a priority to pass the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act in 2021.”
“We are so fortunate to have the support of the iconic Dolores Huerta advocating for compassionate end-of-life care options in her home state,” said Elizabeth Armijo, national advocacy director for Compassion & Choices Action Network. “We are hopeful the New México Senate will consider passing this critical bill for terminally-ill New Mexicans before the session ends on March 20.”
The most recent national Gallup poll, conducted in May 2020, a few months after COVID-19 reached the pandemic level, shows 74% of Americans support medical aid in dying. This is a 6-point jump from the 68% support published in the May 2019 Gallup pre-pandemic poll (see question 15 on page 2).
It has been 22 years since Oregon became the first state to enact a medical aid in dying law. Collectively, we have more than 40 years of combined evidence and cumulative data with medical aid in dying in Oregon and the nine other authorized jurisdictions. Now, more than one in every five Americans (22%) have access to this compassionate end-of-life care option.
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