Sunday, September 26, 2004

Barbara Coombs Lee

Barbara Coombs Lee is the President of Compassion in Dying Federation and was one of the three Chief Petitioners for Oregon's Death with Dignity Act. Compassion in Dying is a nonprofit that provides legal activism, public education, and client services to expand and protect the rights of the terminally ill. For over ten years, Compassion in Dying Federation has been advocating for more humane and caring options for dying individuals.

Barbara is also the editor of the book Compassion in Dying: Stories of Dignity and Choice. The book is a compilation of the stories told by people in the process of dying, by their family members, friends and by spiritual leaders who respect and support choices of dying individuals. The stories are about people who chose to use Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act to control how they died.

Oregon's law has been in place since 1994 and during that time Oregon citizens have used the law sparingly. The many safeguards and guidelines established by the state have allowed its implementation without complications. As a result, and primarily under the leadership of Barbara Coombs Lee, Oregon has become a national model for end-of-life care.

Barbara received her undergraduate and nursing educations at Vassar College and Cornell University. She obtained training in medicine at the University of Washington and a law degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College. She is a member of the Oregon State Bar.

She has appeared on NBC News, CNN Crossfire, 60 Minutes, McNeil Lehrer News Hour, NPR Morning Edition, The Today Show, has testified before Congress on end-of-life issues, and was interviewed by Bill Moyers for his four-part television documentary ''Our Own Terms,'' which looked at death and dying in America. She has personally battled US Attorney General John Ashcroft regarding his vendetta against Oregon’s law, and won. No easy task. She continually presents programs on end-of-life choices throughout the US and abroad. And has won too many awards to mention.

Please welcome the amazing Barbara Coombs Lee.

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