The Hemlock Society of San Diego


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We are an
all-volunteer organization.
No funds go to salaries...or to headquarters.

We need your help with a variety of volunteer positions. If interested, leave a message at (619) 233-4418


Programs and activities of the Hemlock Society of San Diego (HSSD) are made possible by your membership dues and the generous donations of members and friends. Donations and memberships (tax deductible) can be sent to: HSSD, PO Box 34237, San Diego CA 92103
Use PayPal for donations (any amount)

Include the Hemlock Society of San Diego in your Will or Living Trust.

Thank you!

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Upcoming Events
Bring your friends and family!

Is Suicide Ever Rational?

Is Suicide Rational

July 21, 2019 1:30-3:30 pm

  • Is the stigma of “suicide” lessened by calling it something else?
  • When is involuntary psychiatric commitment or intervention,  advisable ?
  • What groups are now being considered for inclusion in assisted dying, such as old age, psychiatric patients, minors? Is this a slippery  slope?
  • How much say should the  “assistor” have in who they will  help?
  • If loved ones support a dying person's choice of a peaceful death do the loved ones have a say in whether the death is justified?

Faye Girsh, EdD, Psychologist; Founder, The Hemlock Society of San Diego
Sally Hall, MD, Psychiatrist, Final Exit : Senior Guide & Medical Evaluation Committee Member
Bob Uslander, MD, Medical Director, Integrated MD Care
Elizabeth Semenova, MSW, MTS, Practice Director & Social Worker,
Integrated MD Care

Discussion to follow presentation.

Sponsor: Hemlock Society of San Diego
Location: Scottish Rite Event Center, 1895 Camino del Rio S, San Diego, CA 92108
Cost: Free. Ample free parking.

Preparing for The Final Asana
End of Life Law, Medicine, Policy and What Yoga Offers

October 26, 2019 - Rancho La Puerta, Tecate, Mexico

The right of patients approaching end of life to make choices to ensure a dying process consistent with their preferences has been rapidly evolving in the U.S. A veteran of nearly every effort to protect and expand end of life choice in the U.S. for more than two decades, Professor Kathryn Tucker will share insight on advocacy strategies, progress, challenges and predictions. Advocacy in the courthouse, the statehouse, and in various policy forums will be discussed, as well as what this means for patients and families dealing with a terminal illness. Also a respected yoga teacher, Kathryn will lead participants in some yoga, breathing and meditation, to create a contemplative frame of mind from which we will explore our hopes for the final bit of our own journey and understand how to plan to make that hope a reality.
more info

Sponsor: Rancho La Puerta


Archbishop Desmond Tutu has broken his silence following the arrest of euthanasia advocate Sean Davison on a charge of murder. Davison is the founder of euthanasia advocacy group Dignity SA.

His arrest comes just weeks after his organisation hosted a pro-euthanasia conference in Cape Town calling for the legalisation of the right by terminally ill patients to choose when to end their life. Medically-assisted suicide or voluntary euthanasia is currently illegal in South Africa.

Nobel Peace laureate Tutu has been a vocal proponent of assisted death for a number of years, which he wrote about in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post on his 85th birthday in 2016.
"I hope I am treated with compassion and allowed to pass on to the next phase of life's journey in the manner of my choice... When my time comes, I want the option of an assisted death," Tutu wrote, sparking major controversy among religious groups and within medical and political circles.

On Friday, Tutu issued an official statement regarding Davison's arrest - which stems from a 2013 matter involving the death of 43-year-old Dr Anrich Burger who became a quadriplegic following a car accident. The statement reads:

"Just as I have argued for compassion and fairness in life, I believe that terminally ill people should be treated with compassion and fairness when it comes to their death.
"This should include affording people who have reached the end-stages of life the right to choose how and when to leave Mother Earth.
"I believe in the sanctity of life, and that death is part of life. Alongside the wonderful palliative care that exists, the choices available to the terminally ill should include dignified assisted death.
"It is a choice that I believe lawmakers should engage, enable and appropriately regulate.

Click the button below to donate to Sean's defense. Hemlock collects the money and forwards it to the trust fund in South Africa. We have already sent $1800. We will be sending another batch in March.

2018 Medscape Ethics Report
It is worth a look at the other 26 questions in the report

Physician Assisted Dying - Survey results

life sustaining therapy - survey results

24% of Emergency Medicine Physicians said they would recommend or provide life-sustaining treatment even if they believed it would be futile.


Faye Girsh

Longtime right-to-die activist Faye Girsh is retired, but not done talking about the issue by John Wilkens, 1/6/19, Union Tribune

Barry Price, Faye Girsh
Faye Girsh, HSSD President and Barry Price, Vice-President,
Discuss End of Life Options

on the Union Tribune's "Community Spotlight" radio show
radio Hear interview with Faye Girsh, President of the Hemlock Society of San Diego and Dr. Bob Uslander, Integrated MD Care, on KFMB radio program "It's Your Money and Your Life."

No one disputes that it's against the law to take another person's life, but is it against the law to sit with someone and watch while they commit suicide? We meet an elderly woman who sneaks around the country as an "exit guide."

Hear an interview with Exit Guide Fran Schindler

Final Exit Network

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An assisted dying law would not result in more people dying, but in fewer people suffering.
-Campaign for Dignity in Dying


Our speaker bureau can provide a speaker on California's End of Life Option Act, Advance Directives or other right to die issues.

Where we have spoken

Contact the Hemlock Society of San Diego

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Registering Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) with CA Secretary of State

 For a small fee, you can register your AHCD with the Secretary of State's Office to ensure that, wherever you may be, your health provider will have access to it. When you register, you have the option of providing a PDF (that an officially identified health provider can then download) or indicate its location.

more info



Featured Articles

The Elderly Are Getting Complex Surgeries. Often It Doesn't End Well. Complication rates are high among the oldest patients. Now a surgeons’ group will propose standards for hospitals operating on the elderly. by Paula Span. June 7, 2019. New York Times.

Her Time. By Katie Engelhart. March 20, 2019. The California Sunday Magazine.

Interview with Faye Girsh – An Activist for the Right to a Peaceful Death By Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Feb. 2, 2019. Canadia Atheist.

The Doctors Who Invented a New Way to Help People Die. By Jennie Dear, Jan 22, 2019. The Atlantic

Why California Must Still Fight For Death With Dignity. By Barry Price, Ph.D., 12/12/18 Union Tribune. With rebuttal by John Dolan, Auxiliary Bishop in the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego.

Even the Best Palliative Care Can't Always Help. (video) Dying for Choice, Australia.

Could I Kill My Mother? By Sarah Lyall, Aug. 31, 2018, New York Times.

As Catholic Hospitals Expand, So Do Limits on Some Procedures By Katie Hafner,Aug. 10, 2018, New York Times.

Letting Go By Atul Gawande, Annals of Medicine August 2, 2010 Issue. Published in The New Yorker

Die Like a Dog By Joseph M Pierre, UCLA Professor of Psychiatry. Aeon

In Oregon, pushing to give patients with degenerative diseases the right to die By Rob Kuznia, Washington Post, March 11, 2018

Scottish Parliament removes time limit in definition of "terminally ill" My Death, My Decision website, July 15, 2018

Oregon Couple's Final Days Captured In Intimate Aid-In-Dying Video Washington Post, March 7, 2018

How American ideas about end-of-life care have shifted by Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times, June 30, 2018

A Harder Death for People With Intellectual Disabilities. By Tim Lahey, M.D. New York Times, April 5, 2018

Professor Stephen Hawking backs right to die for the terminally ill. By Sarah Boseley. The Guardian. Sept. 2013

This Was Not the Good Death We Were Promised, By Karen Brown. New York Times, 1/6/18

Getting Off the End-of-Life Conveyor Belt. by Joanne Kaldy. Caring for the Ages. Dec., 2017

I'm a Christian With Stage IV Cancer. I Want Death With Dignity. by Corinne Johns-Treat. Time. August 10, 2016

New 'Instructions' Could Let Dementia Patients Refuse Spoon-Feeding. By JoNel Aleccia, Kaiser Health News. November 3, 2017

Accessing Drugs for Medical Aid in Dying. (An article about the cost) by Catherine Offord, The Scientist, Aug. 17, 2017

A Year After Assisted Suicide Became Legal in California, hurdles remain. by Paul Sisson, San Diego Union Tribune, July 2, 2017

Changing the Paradigm of Advance Directives to Avoid Prolonged Dementia by Norman Cantor, Harvard Law Blog, April 20, 2017

How to End a Life, By Nicholas Hune-Brown, Toronto Life, May 23, 2017

A Matter of Death and Life, by Wael Haddara, April 28, 2017

Belgian Catholic psychiatric hospitals 'adjust' their view of euthanasia.By Michael Cook, Bioedge April 29, 2017.

Montana's right to die law in jeopardy with new proposal. KPAX, March 1, 2017

Gorsuch Staunchly Opposes 'Aid in Dying.' Does It Matter? Judge Neil M. Gorsuch's book leaves no doubt regarding his feelings. But advocates say the real battle is in state courts, not the Supreme Court. By Paula Span, THE NEW OLD AGE; New YorkTimes FEB. 24, 2017

Doctor Considers the Pitfalls of Extending Life and Prolonging Death. Haider Warraich, on his new book, "Modern Death" Fresh Air. January 30, 2017

Assisted Dying Global Report Card 2016 - Fact file by Neil Francis, Posted on Thursday 7th July 2016 on Key finding: Approval amongst physicians seems to be consistently lower than amongst the public..

DIGNICIDE -- By William Simmons - Presentation at at the Euthanasia-2016 Conference World Federation of Right-to-Die Societies Amsterdam, May 12, 2016

Doctor Assisted Suicide:California Ban Challenged in Court -- by Howard Mintz -- San Jose Mercury News -- February 15, 2015

Assisted Suicide Now Legal in 5 States -- by Erik Eckholm -- New York Times -- February 8, 2014

Fatal Mercies -- by Frank Bruni -- New York Times -- August 10, 2013

A Plea for Assisted Suicide -- by Kayla Penokie -- August 7, 2013

Doctors Really Do Die Differently -- by Ken Murray, MD -- July 17, 2013

I Must Die, My Love, To Rid You of this Burden -- by Sarah-Kate Templeton -- London Sunday Times -- July 14, 2013

Advance Directives Are Often Not Honored -- by Michael Cook -- BIOEdge News -- June 29, 2013

Click here to see additional articles.

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