skip to main content

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

Lawmakers consider changes to Maine's Clean Election law, Florida offers a big no comment over "arranged" migrant flights to California, and the Global Fragility Act turns U.S. peacekeeping on its head.

play newscast audioPlay

A bipartisan effort aims to preserve AM radio, the Human Rights Campaign declares a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people, and the Atlanta City Council approves funding for a controversial police training center.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

“Death Doulas” Fight for Right to Serve Families

play audio
Play

Tuesday, December 14, 2021   

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A case which could put so-called "death doulas" out of business gets a hearing this week before a federal judge in Sacramento.

Death doulas support families emotionally through the process of losing a loved one, educate people on their options and sometimes wash and dress the body and assist with home funerals or green burials. The state wants to require them to get a funeral director's license.

Jess Pezley, staff attorney for the nonprofit Compassion and Choices, which has filed an amicus brief to join the case, said the license would require doulas to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy a funeral home equipped to embalm and store bodies.

"They don't embalm. They aren't transporting the body. They aren't offering crematorium services," Pezley outlined. "And they're not doing anything that would put themselves or others at risk of blood-borne viruses, things like that."

Two years ago, the California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau ordered the doulas at Full Circle of Living and Dying in Nevada County to become licensed funeral directors or cease operations. The doulas sued, and a preliminary injunction allowed them to stay in business. The bureau declined to comment.

Pezley noted the state's order was spurred by an anonymous complaint.

"It would make sense that it was somebody in the conventional funeral industry who has this vested financial interest in dissuading people from home burials or green burials," Pezley contended.

Meagan Williams, a death doula and senior media associate with Compassion and Choices, said if the doulas are required to become funeral directors, it would effectively shut down the field and deny families an important option.

"Doulas can bring comfort and peace," Williams stated. "Knowing that they're not alone, knowing that there's somebody who is educated who understands the process, understands what's coming up ahead of them, and can help them plan."

This week both sides are asking for a summary judgment, and a decision is expected early next year.

Disclosure: Compassion and Choices contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Health Issues, Senior Issues, and Social Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
According to the Mars Veterinary Health study, nearly 41,000 additional veterinarians will be needed to meet the needs of companion animal health care by 2030. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

In Arizona, telemedicine is now not only available for humans but also for people's beloved animals. Last month Governor Katie Hobbs signed Senate …


Environment

play sound

Ruybal Fox Creek Ranch sits in a dramatic canyon in the foothills of southern Colorado's San Juan Mountains, right next to the Rio Grande National …

Social Issues

play sound

A court hearing next week could help determine whether an eastern South Dakota mayor will face a recall election. Events are rare for this state…


A new measure in this year's report shows many older adults spent more than 30% of their income on housing. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Indiana ranks closer to the bottom of U.S. states where you will find healthy seniors living than the top, according to a new report. …

Social Issues

play sound

The last day of school for Texas kids is typically one of elation, but for children in rural areas with high poverty rates, it also can mean …

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wetlands cover 5.5% of the 48 contiguous states, with one million acres of wetland in Virginia. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Virginia environmental advocates are not happy with the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision on the Clean Water Act. The ruling in Sackett versus E-P-…

Social Issues

play sound

Record-high demand has prompted the Ohio Association of Food Banks to request additional funding in the biennial budget to increase the capacity of fo…

Social Issues

play sound

The Biden administration has unveiled a plan to combat the rise in antisemitism across the U.S. In New York, Anti-Defamation League data finds …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021