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Public Panel Discussion: Should Minnesota Embrace a Right to Die?

UMD’s Center for Ethics and Public Policy is sponsoring a public panel discussion regarding the possible legalization of the proscription of lethal medication to terminal patients. The event will take place on Friday, October 9 from 6–8 pm at UMD’s Montague Hall, Room 80. This event is free and open to the public.

The panel will discuss whether Minnesota should adopt legislation that would allow some terminal patients to procure lethal medication from their doctor. Senator Chris Eaton has proposed legislation (SF 1880) that would allow the legalization of practices that are similar to the "Oregon Model." This panel will discuss some of the virtues and potential abuses of such a system.

For more information about this event and the Center for Ethics and Public Policy, see

The panel includes:

Senator Chris Eaton
 (Senate Majority Whip, author of the Minnesota Compassionate Care Act [SF 1880]) Eaton is a registered nurse and a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association. She was director of health services at Mental Health Resources from 2009 to 2012, and previously worked as a nurse at Ramsey County Mental Health Initiative from 1998 to 2008, and as a nurse and human services tech at Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center from 1991 to 1998.

Kirk Allison (program director of the Program in Human Rights and Medicine -- University of Minnesota) Allison’s publications center on discussions of science and ideology, interdisciplinarity, and the concept of human dignity in relation to disability. His writing in these fields began with his Ph.D dissertation research at the Deutches Literaturarchiv in Marbach, Germany, in which he investigated the social location of physician-poet Gottfried Benn’s (1886-1956) medical specialties in relation to his literature and ethical relations to the Hippocratic ethical tradition; the confluence of eugenics, aesthetics, and politics. His interest with and involvement in the intersection between human rights and healthcare continued to deepen over the years, and in 2003 he served as a consultant for the Human Rights Library study guide “The Right to Means for Adequate Health.” In subsequent years, collaborative projects have included investigations of the uninsured, and in 2004 produced a policy recommendation review for the Minneapolis Department of Health & Family Support and the Hennepin County Human Services & Public Health Department. A tireless and dedicated champion of human rights both at home and abroad, Professor Allison has also presented testimony to state legislative committees on topics such as “Genomics, Ethics and the Public Representation of Science” and “Stem Cell Research Policy: Is Ethics or Science Primary?” His recent research includes analysis of physician attitudes toward health care financing systems; studies of health care outcomes by institutional profile as well as epilepsy-related health disparities in the American Indian community; analysis of the relationship between human rights and health including with regard to disabilities; investigation of human rights and organ harvesting/procurement in China.

Jonathan R. Sande, MD (ethics program director -- St. Mary's Medical Center) Sande is a graduate of St. Olaf College and attended Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Hematology and Oncology at the Mayo College of Medicine, and is board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Oncology. A former fellow in the Pew Program in Medicine, Arts, and the Social Sciences at the University of Chicago, he is currently a doctoral candidate in ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School, a consultant in Hematology/Oncology at Essentia Health East, director of the St. Mary's Medical Center Ethics Program, and director of Essentia Health East Advance Care Planning.

David Mayo (Professor Emeritus – University of Minnesota, Duluth) Mayo, board member of the Death with Dignity National Center, was professor of Philosophy and faculty associate of the Center for Bioethics at UMD. He also served on the board of directors of the American Association of Suicidology and of the Hemlock Sociey, co-authored Suicide: The Philosophical Issues. He received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Reed College, and his PhD in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. He began teaching at the University of Minnesota in 1966 and became interested in bioethics in 1974, when he participated in a six week summer seminar in bioethics sponsored by the Council for Philosophical Studies. In 1985, he was a Visiting Exxon Fellow in Clinical Medical Ethics at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. During leaves from his position at UMD, Mayo taught at Macalester College in St. Paul, and at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and held Visiting Scholar appointments at both Macalester College and the School of Nursing at Case Western Reserve University. Mayo is widely published on the subjects of death and dying, privacy, and AIDS.


October 2015

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Cheryl Reitan,

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