Assisted Suicide Partners: The AIDS Movement and Compassion & Choices

Tracking the AIDS and assisted suicide movements.

“Born during the AIDS epidemic, Compassion & Choices’ work on aid in dying always included large contingents of LGBT individuals, educated or not.”….Barbara Coombs Lee, President Compassion & Choices.  May 2014.

New York Times

“EUGENE, Ore.  Feb. 8, 1990 Derek Humphry gained fame when he helped his first wife commit suicide to end her agony from terminal breast cancer at the age of 42.

Less than a year later he married Ann Wickett Humphry, and together they founded the Hemlock Society, dedicated to what they call ”assisted suicide” and ”self-deliverance” for the dying.

Now, Ann Humphry has developed breast cancer herself. And Derek Humphry has left her, 15 years after his first wife, Jean, drank a cup of coffee laced with secobarbital and codeine he had mixed for her.

Obscure Group Is Shaken

The dissolution of the Humphrys’ marriage under such circumstances has shaken the Hemlock Society, a once obscure group that has seen its controversial message of voluntary euthanasia become vastly more accepted in recent years as a result of the AIDS epidemic.

The Hemlock Society, a once obscure group who has seen its controversial message of voluntary euthanasia become vastly more accepted in recent years as a result of the AIDS epidemic.”  Hemlock leader [Derek Humphry] leaves cancer stricken wife.   New York Times.  2/8/1990.

Compassion & Choices’ Facebook Post dated 12/1/2014

“We are proud to acknowledge #WorldAIDSDay. 

“The death with dignity and HIV/AIDS movements have come a long way since their intertwined beginnings. 

“Years of advocacy and action have brought us to today; a time when we’re closer than ever to ending AIDS and needless suffering at the end-of-life.”

Click image to enlarge.

C&C HIV AIDS support

We wondered about using the term “AIDS movement.”  Is it used?  Yes.


The Woman Who Documented the HIV/AIDS Movement.  MSNBC

AIDS Movement Search Results.  Google


Right-To-Die in 20 States by 2020 Announced at Elite Cocktail Party

Updated 9/15/2015.

Compassion & Choices Cocktails and Conversation

(read:  death stories)

New York Social Diary (link at bottom)


Robert Matheson squires his grandmother, Ruth Buchanan, and her favorite dachshund, Cinderella, across the porch to receive guests for an event for friends and family to learn more about the work of leading national nonprofit Compassion & Choices.

MickeyMcIntire C&C 2Mickey MacIntyre, C&C fund raising czar

Mickey MacIntyre, Compassion & Choices’ CPO, tells about the organization’s aggressive push to have active Death with Dignity Campaigns in 20 states by the year 2020.

Cocktails and Conversation on Expanding End-of-Life Choice at Beaulieu with hosts Ruth Buchanan and Bonnie Matheson

The Newport season saw its second event at Beaulieu — the summer home of Washington, D.C., doyenne Ruth Buchanan — this time sans orchestra and dancing. An intimate coterie of friends and family gathered on her 50′ wide slate porch overlooking the cliff walk and Atlantic for the cocktail hour to learn more about the work of leading national nonprofit Compassion & Choices. Its mission for the past 32 years has been to expand choice and improve care at the end of life. That includes making death with dignity — the medical practice of aid in dying for terminally ill, mentally competent adults — a legitimate, open and accessible option. Currently, this option is expressly legal in five states, and Compassion & Choices is running campaigns to establish this basic human right in six others with a goal of 20 by the year 2020.

Ruth told her guests: “I watched both of my late husbands have terribly painful and drawn-out deaths because they didn’t plan ahead [by naming resolute healthcare proxies and completing comprehensive advance directives]. They hadn’t spoken to their families about their own deeply held end-of-life values and shared what truly living meant to them. I hope each of you — including my own children and grandchildren — gathered here will not make the same mistakes. Life for me is more than just existing, and I don’t want to be here if I can’t truly enjoy all of it — especially dancing!”

Ruth, still “tripping the light fantastic” well into her 90s, has been supporting the death-with-dignity movement since 1996, when late husband was in serious decline. She sought out and received sound advice from Compassion & Choices end-of-life consultants. This spring, she was initially approached with a request to meet with the organization’s Washington, D.C.-based staff to discuss the possibility of hosting an event in Newport.  With her signature wit, a rye smile and a gimlet eye, from across the room she jokingly quipped, “Tell them, “I’m not ready for them yet!”

However, despite two other events on her dance card that day, she held court with a drink in hand while admonishing her guests to “live life and get as much enjoyment out of it as you can. Make absolutely sure your family – especially your children – knows what you want when that’s no longer happening. Compassion & Choices is here to help us. Please join me in supporting them.”

Ronald Fleming, his guest Phoebe visiting for the season from England – and Leilani Brenner discuss the lively debate currently in process in the House of Lords on an “Assisted Dying” bill modeled after the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.  Phoebe shared that Lord Carey, the recently retired Archbishop of Canterbury, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu both support the assisted-dying legislation.

MickeyMcIntire C&C

Jared Hughes [in purple bow tie] is Compassion & Choices’ Major Gifts Officer.  Mickey MacIntyre [in black suit] chief program officer of Compassion & Choices, discusses death-with-dignity legal strategy with Ronald Lee Fleming, Eugene Bowie Roberts, Jr. (a member of the Vanderbilt Family) and his wife, Lynn Springer Roberts, visiting from (a soon-to-be death with dignity campaign state) Maryland.


More photos at New York Social Diary…scroll down to 2/3 of that page.

Aggressive Publicity for Medical Suicide by Hemlock Society – Brittany Maynard

From the “Wish We Had A Movie Star Spokesperson” department…

Dear Readers,

A young patient with brain cancer moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of the state’s PAS law (physician assisted suicide).

Hemlock Society Logo
Hemlock Society Logo
Hemlock Society Logo


After gathering information I conclude that this is an aggressive ad campaign by the Hemlock Society, aka Compassion & Choices. So far I have seen their slick video ON THE NEWS twice, yesterday and today.  As the video plays one can see clearly the C&C logo.

The Sacramento local news is asking for viewer opinions!

A brief Internet search indicates C&C’s top notch PUBLIC RELATIONS dept. — headed by former Planned Parenthood public policy director — is on a roll.

The story has made a media feeding frenzy:  New York Times, People Magazine, CNN, and local news.

In fact, the C&C website has gotten so many hits it keeps crashing.


The poor suffering cancer patient is now the namesake of an unethical campaign, THE BRITTANY MAYNARD FUND, “an initiative of C&C to expand the death-with-dignity option to all.

During the last days of her life, Maynard plans to raise awareness of end-of-life rights by working with life-rights advocacy organization Compassion & Choices and The Brittany Maynard Fund.  Fox News.


There are questions that need answering:  Where are photos of her as a sick person?  All the photos shows a healthy woman.  Is she really sick?  Are we expected to just take this on face value?


“Poison Pen Pals:  Earl Blumenauer and Hemlock Society” – about opening of their new Washington, D.C. office.