Center for Bioethics - Ethics Grand Rounds:  January 28, 12 - 1:30 pm CST Zoom, Free, Open to the Public

The Minnesota End-of-Life Option Act: Medical Aid in Dying is a Compassionate Option for Terminally Ill Patients



The Minnesota End-of-Life Option Act was reintroduced to the MN state legislature in early 2021 and was modeled after the 1994 Oregon Death with Dignity Act. At this panel discussion, you hear perspectives from a patient with a terminal illness, an Oregon based clinician, the lead author of the bill, and a health law & bioethics professor - all in support of this type of legislation.

  • Danna Nelson shares her thoughts on medical aid in dying as a patient with a terminal illness.
  • Dr. Grube discusses the clinical applications of medical aid in dying, including competencies, standards of practice, medical ethics, and barriers to access.
  • Rep. Freiberg unpacks the main tenets of the MN bill.
  • Health Law & Bioethics Professor Pope identifies and responds to the most common objections to legalizing medical aid in dying.

These presentations were followed by a robust discussion. 

This was an event of the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs hosted by the Center for Bioethics and co-sponsored by the following U of MN units: the School of Nursing, the Medical School, the Law School, and the School of Public Health.

This event was part one of a two-part series representing both sides of the issues related to this bill.
The second part of this series took place on Feb. 11, 2022 from 3 - 4:30 pm CST.  These events were intended to help inform people in MN about the issues associated with this proposed legislation and promote thoughtful, balanced public discussion as it is considered by the Legislature. 


Headshot of Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, HEC-C

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, HEC-C, Professor, Mitchell Hamline School of Law

Thaddeus Mason Pope, JD, PhD, HEC-C, is a foremost expert on medical law and clinical ethics. He maintains a special focus on patient rights and healthcare decision-making. Pope is a Professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. While he serves in a range of consulting capacities, Pope has been particularly influential through his extensive high-impact scholarship. Ranked among the Top 20 most cited health law scholars in the United States, Professor Pope has over 225 publications in leading medical journals, bioethics journals, and law reviews. He coauthors the definitive treatise The Right to Die: The Law of End-of-Life Decision-making, and he runs the Medical Futility Blog (with over four million page-views). Prior to joining academia, Professor Pope practiced at Arnold & Porter and clerked on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Pope earned a JD and PhD from Georgetown University.

Headshot of Danna Nelson, Patient-Advocate, Compassion and Choices

Danna Nelson, Patient Advocate, Compassion and Choices Minnesota

Danna Nelson has been living with stage 4 cancer. She is an advocate for the option of medical aid in dying in Minnesota. After her cancer diagnosis, Danna underwent intensive treatments for three years where she was met with a terminal diagnosis from her doctors. Her cancer and pain have been at the forefront of her life, motivating her to seek control over the quality of her life rather than more painful treatments. Danna believes “...having the autonomy to obtain an aid-in-dying prescription would provide [her] a much needed sense of control and peace of mind.” Danna serves as a patient-advocate for Compassion and Choices Minnesota. 

Headshot of David Grube, MD

David R Grube MD, National Medical Director (Retired), Compassion and Choices 

David Grube, MD is a physician of family medicine and the recently retired National Medical Director for Compassion & Choices, an organization committed to improving care, expanding options and empowering everyone to chart their end-of-life journey. David has taught, premedical and medical students for his entire career. He has lectured nationally on topics such as Professionalism, Medical Ethics, End of Life Care and Humor in Medicine. He has served on his local school board, his local hospital board and on the board of the local hospice. 

Rep. Mike Freiberg

Representative Mike Freiberg (DFL) District: 45B

Rep. Mike Freiberg was first elected State Representative in 2012 and has played a key role in many important pieces of legislation. Mike works as an attorney for a nonprofit organization committed to improving public health. He has also worked as an Adjunct Law Professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Law and Mitchell Hamline School of Law, teaching courses in Legislation and Public Health Law. In the past, he worked as a legislative aide for a member of Congress, specializing in education and health care. Rep. Freiberg has a BA in government/Russian from Georgetown University and a JD from William Mitchell College of Law.