Meeting Report

May 21, 2017

Jacie Rowe

The End of Life Option Act and Final Exit Network

Who would want to spend a Sunday afternoon pondering death and dying? As it happened, twenty-some members and friends of HAGSA did exactly that at Reason Center on May 21, when Jacie Rowe gave a very informative presentation on the Final Exit Network’s (FEN) mission of helping terminally ill people end their suffering.

A riveting speaker, Mr. Rowe related the history of the Death with Dignity movement in California as well as the entire United States, elucidating the fine points of laws dealing with the issue. Among the salient facts he related:

  1. “Suicide” is not illegal anywhere in the United States.

  2. One using FEN is “not ending a life, but ending suffering.”

  3. FEN provides a “family life experience.”

  4. While it can cost $5000 for prescriptions to end one’s life, FEN’s cost does not exceed $300.

  5. FEN is staffed by dedicated volunteers who want only to mitigate suffering.

  6. In California, a death certificate must list cause of death as the patient’s terminal illness, not as “suicide.”

He further described the structure of the Hemlock Society (founded by Derek Humphry—currently a FEN member), Compassion & Choices, and FEN. He also addressed our success in getting the California End of Life Option Act (EOLOA) passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015. Notably, the California Medical Association switched from opposition to the law to a neutral position after FEN and other activist organizations personalized the issue: “What would you want if you were terminally ill, doctor?” Even our Catholic governor mentioned that argument while signing the bill!

Thank you so much, Jacie Rowe, for your great presentation! We hope to hear from you again in the future.

For more information, click on the following link:

Final Exit Network

Report prepared by Roger Zabkie

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