Balancing end-of-life tension

Staff report

The Aspen Center for Social Values will host a public conversation with renowned experts Thursday to discuss and challenge ideas on end-of-life decision-making and the right to die.

The program is a continuation of last summer’s “When Life Nears Death” and will offer fundamental information surrounding Colorado’s terminally ill end-of-life decisions act, House Bill 16-1054.

House Bill 16-1054, or the Death with Dignity bill, renamed the Colorado End-of-Life Options Act, was recently voted down for the second time. The passing would have allowed an individual with a terminal illness to request from a specific physician a self-administrating, life-ending medication to hasten one’s death. Any person participating in the process is protected from both civil and criminal liability. The bill also specifies life, health, accident insurance or annuity policies cannot be affected.

Where do you stand on these life and death issues? Why is the Legislature opposed to it, and what are the repercussions? Should each individual have the personal choice to hasten death?

This topic is being fiercely debated throughout the country because it has the potential of changing how we view the role of medicine and the autonomy of individuals. It is a conversation that affects how we relate to families, friends and loved ones at the end of life.

Distinguished panelists include:

• Matt Wynia is director of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver.

• Sean Jeung is a board certified hospice chaplain. She serves as the chaplain at the Calaway Young Cancer Center in Glenwood Springs and is a fellow of the Aspen Center for Social Values.

• Ira Bedzow is the director of the Biomedical Ethics ad Humanities Program at New York Medical College and the founder of the Aspen Center of Social Values.

The public program will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Jewish Community Center at 435 W. Main St.. Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance and are available at

The Aspen Center for Social Values, is dedicated to solving pressing social challenges by exploring the benefits of cross-cultural and religious interaction through public discussion and is a partner of the Chabad Jewish Community Center. For more information, visit its website at or email


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