I am a former filmmaker and production artist who lived and worked in Los Angeles. In 2012 I developed a severe form of progressive MS, which has resulted in a relentless decline, with intractable pain. I have lost much of my ability to see, walk and feel, and I can no longer work in my field. I have relocated to New Mexico to be close to family.
As my condition has continued to deteriorate, I have become active in the effort to expand end of life laws to include people like me who are suffering and who seek a compassionate end to their lives, but who are denied access to the existing laws. In New Mexico, I was part of the effort to pass a law that would have allowed access to Medical Aid in Dying for people who suffer from degenerative and irreversible conditions. Unfortunately, the legislature did not pass this bill and, after coming under massive pressure from lobbying groups, instead passed a law based on the outdated Oregon model, The Elizabeth Whitfield End of Life Options Act. This law contains the same restrictions that exist under California’s end of life law.
I realize that there is no hope for me under the current restrictive laws in the US, and I will soon travel to Switzerland to obtain an assisted death. My dying wish is that a more enlightened, compassionate law be passed. People with progressive incurable conditions must be given the right to choose a dignified end to their suffering. I believe that this can happen in California, and I hope that my story will contribute to this effort.