Mission Statement: “Dedicated to educating and expanding compassionate end-of-life choices for all Arizonans, including the right of terminally ill adults to physician aid in dying as a fundamental civil right.”
Control Your Own Destiny
Compassion & Choices Arizona is a non-profit organization dedicated to making physician aid-in-dying a legally available option for terminally or hopelessly ill persons in Arizona. A majority of Arizonans favor such a law.
We believe that in a free society it is a fundamental right to choose the time and manner of one's own death. The right to choose the course of one's own death is as fundamental as the right to choose the course of one's own life.
“Let Me Die Like a Dog”
It is not uncommon that the last days or weeks of life are accompanied by severe mental or physical pain, suffering, or disability that many people would rather not put up with were they given the choice. We treat our beloved pets better than we treat dying humans because we do not allow our pets to suffer needlessly.
However, there is a fundamental and important difference between dying dogs and dying humans: the dog is not a free agent of choice in the situation. Ironically, the law does not treat humans as free agents of choice in the situation either! Humans in Arizona do not currently have the option, if we wish, to hasten our deaths with the aid of a physician. Physicians, after all, are the ones who possess the knowledge and ability to relieve suffering by hastening death in an effective, humane, and dignified manner if the patient requests it.
It’s Simply a Matter of Freedom of Choice
We believe that the right to choose the course and manner of one's own death should rest only with the individual involved, not with the State, the Legislature, the Medical Association, or with any other person.
As important, each one of us should be able to die in accordance with our own individual beliefs. Currently, Arizonans are forced to die according to a set of beliefs shared by some but not by all of us. In the words of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Compassion in Dying v. Washington, 1996):
“Those who believe strongly that death must come without physician assistance should be free to follow that creed, whether they be doctors or patients. But they should not be free to force their views, their religious convictions, or their philosophies on all other members of a democratic society, nor should they be free to compel those whose values differ from theirs to die painful, protracted, and agonizing deaths.” [ref.]
Compassion & Choices Arizona is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and is the statewide Chapter of the national organization Compassion & Choices, which was formed by the merger of Compassion in Dying and End of Life Choices (formerly Hemlock Society).