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Death With Dignity

"Death with dignity" typically refers to the concept of allowing terminally ill individuals to end their lives on their own terms, often through the use of medication prescribed by a physician. This practice is also known as physician-assisted dying or physician-assisted suicide.

The idea behind death with dignity is to provide individuals who are suffering from unbearable pain or facing imminent death the option to die peacefully and with control over their own destiny. It's often seen as a compassionate response to end-of-life suffering, allowing individuals to maintain their autonomy and dignity.

However, the topic is highly debated, with ethical, moral, religious, and legal considerations coming into play. Supporters argue that it's a matter of personal autonomy and compassion, while opponents raise concerns about the potential for abuse, the sanctity of life, and the slippery slope toward euthanasia without consent.

Several countries and states have legalized some form of assisted dying, but it remains a contentious issue in many places around the world. A few months ago I reviewed the states/territories of the United States and their laws. 

Now I want to tell you about an organization that helps with self-deliverance which is not illegal in any U.S. state, however free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Within that framework, FEN provides information and a compassionate presence. They provide nothing else. They hold that mentally competent adults who suffer from a terminal illness, intractable physical pain, chronic or progressive physical disabilities, or who face loss of autonomy and selfhood through dementia, have a basic human right to choose to end their lives when they judge their quality of life to be unacceptable.

Their mission is to educate qualified individuals in practical, peaceful ways to end their lives, offer a compassionate bedside presence and defend their right to choose.

Their vision is that any competent person unbearably suffering an intractable medical condition has the option to die legally and peacefully.

Personal autonomy at the end of life and the right to self-deliverance aren’t worth much if one doesn’t have the knowledge to comfortably and safely exercise them. Final Exit Network’s Exit Guide Program educates people on ways they can shape their end-of-life path. For those considering hastening their death, exit guides provide information so that self-deliverance is a peaceful and practical option they may consider, and a compassionate presence for people who choose that option. Self-deliverance is not illegal in any U.S. state, and free speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Within that framework, FEN provides information and a compassionate presence. We provide nothing else.

Exit Guide Program volunteer coordinators respond to calls and website contacts about end-of-life options and the Exit Guide Program. The coordinators answer questions, discuss options, direct callers to appropriate resources, and, for those interested in exit guide support, explain our process. The Exit Guide Program works with individuals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who are suffering from intolerable medical circumstances, are mentally competent, want to end their lives, and meet FEN’s criteria for guide support.

These individuals have physical illnesses such as cancer, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, emphysema, congestive heart failure, stroke, AIDS, and many other lesser known but serious, frequently lengthy ailments. We also recognize the debilitating nature of constellations of physical problems that, taken together, seriously degrade quality of life. These can be age-related or they can stem from chronic diseases such as diabetes or auto-immune disorders.

Though we recognize the extreme suffering caused by mental illness, we do not accept applicants whose primary medical complaint is mental illness.

Our guides offer education on reliable, time-tested methods of self-deliverance. Safeguards are in place to ensure the person’s decision is voluntary and repeatedly stated. If our clients wish, our guides will be with them, providing companionship and comfort, if they choose to exit.

FEN serves those who do not have access to medical aid in dying, either because their state doesn’t yet have an aid in dying law or because their medical condition is not immediately terminal and would leave them suffering for years, unable to use a law even if one were available.

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