History of Death with Dignity Movement in Arizona


Arizona End-of-Life Options was formed in 2019 as a broad coalition, with support from national partners Compassion and Choices and Death with Dignity. But activism in Arizona on this subject dates back to around 1986, beginning in Tucson and later becoming a statewide chapter of Compassion and Choices.

The statewide Chapter initially formed in 1997. It was known as Arizonans for Death with Dignity, and adopted a goal of an Arizona Death with Dignity law in 1998! (Hey, it took a long time for women to get the right to vote, too.)

The group brought Arizona close to having an initiative campaign to get a medical aid in dying law on the ballot in 2000, but there was only enough money available nationally to support one such campaign in a given year, and Maine beat us to it. It was too big a task to rely on just local funding.

Following name changes of the national organization, the statewide group became End of Life Choices Arizona in 2003 and Compassion and Choices Arizona in 2005. The first medical aid in dying bill was introduced into the Arizona legislature in 2004 by Representative Linda Lopez.

Probably the most prominent supporter of the cause during those years was Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal, MD, founding dean of The University of Arizona College of Medicine, who remained a strong supporter up until his death in 2006.

March on the State Legislature, January 25, 2006

It was lightheartedly called the “Million Geezer March.” Yes, it did fall a few people short of that many on the march. However, given the senior population in Arizona, and the percentage of them that support a medical aid in dying law (63%), definitely more than a million supporters were represented.

History of Arizona State Legislation

None of the bills listed below were passed. All bills are in PDF format.

Legislation authorizing medical aid in dying (very similar to the laws enacted in other states):

Legislation creating an Advance Directive for Control of Suffering:

Legislation about the right to be informed about end of life options: