Our goal is to improve care and expand choice at the end of life.
Who Are We?
We are a statewide chapter of the national, nonprofit organization Compassion & Choices (formerly called “End-of-Life Choices,” an organization that was founded in 1980 as “The Hemlock Society”). Our Wisconsin Chapter was established in 1991 to pursue the following objectives:
To bring to public attention more compassionate options for those who face unrelieved suffering or loss of dignity and personal autonomy in the dying process.
To provide information and support to terminally ill patients and their families through our End-of-Life Consultation Program.
To promote a climate of public opinion that is tolerant of the rights of the terminally ill to end their own lives in a planned manner.
To advocate for physician-assisted aid-in-dying as a lawful option for the terminally ill.
We Are Not Alone!
Even though Harris used the emotionally-laden terminology of "physician-assisted suicide" and "euthanasia," a Harris Poll released on April 27, 2005 showed that two-thirds of U.S. adults want their states to enact aid-in-dying laws like the one adopted in the state of Oregon more than a decade ago and recently approved by voters in Washington State. Link to the Harris Interactive press release with tables: www.compassionandchoices.org/documents/20050428_MajoritiesOfAdults_14.pdf
“It is one thing to expand life and it is quite another to postpone death. When medical science shifts from expanding the length and quality of life and begins simply to postpone the reality of death, why are we not capable of saying that the sacredness of life is no longer being served? The time has come for us to stop treating death as an enemy to be defeated, but rather as an aspect of life’s holiness to be embraced.” - Bishop John Shelby Spong
How Do We Serve?
We encourage C&C members and members of the public to familiarize themselves with the Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care forms found in the Wisconsin Statutes, and to fill out and sign the document that is most suitable for their needs. We supply both forms in our New Member packet, together with a checklist of personal decisions that should be made by those wishing to specify their desires for end-of-life care. Advance directive forms may also be downloaded from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services website. Link to the Advance Directives: http://dhfs.wisconsin.gov/forms/AdvDirectives/
We strongly support the Hospice movement and encourage its wider availability.
We strive to promote a climate of public opinion that is tolerant of the rights of the terminally ill to make their own end-of-life choices in a planned manner. To that end, we sponsor speakers on end-of-life issues in our communities, send letters to newspaper editors for publication, appear on radio programs to discuss end-of-life issues and make other efforts to raise public consciousness about end-of-life issues.
We provide information on end-of-life issues to our members and other interested persons through a quarterly newsletter and regular chapter meetings.
We advocate physician-assisted aid in dying as a lawful option for the terminally ill. 2007 Senate Bill 151, modeled after Oregon’s Death with Dignity law, was introduced in the Wisconsin Legislature by Senators Fred Risser, Bob Jauch and Tim Carpenter. The bill was cosponsored by State Representatives Frank Boyle, Terese Berceau, and Mark Pocan. The bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Public Health, Senior Issues, Long Term Care and Privacy, where a hearing was held, but the committee never voted to send the bill on to the Senate for a vote. C&C of Wisconsin is hopefully that Senator Risser and a number of other legislators will re-introduce this bill in the next session of the Wisconsin Legislature. To view the text of 2007 Senate Bill 151, click on the following link: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/2007/data/SB-151.pdf .
We have four general membership meetings a year: in April, midsummer, September and November, often with speakers of local or national prominence.