The Order is focused on advocating for legislation that protects and expands people’s ability to have a good death.

The Order, its founding members, and advocates in the Death Positive Movement have played a crucial role in the creation and writing of bills, providing testimony to the Senate and Congress, providing public education, expanding awareness, and leveraging public support for legislation on a variety of issues.

While our advocacy efforts span a wide variety of topics, below are the current legislative targets of the Order.


Natural Organic Reduction (also known as Human Composting)

Background

To put it simply, Natural Organic Reduction (NOR) refers to an alternative to burial or cremation wherein a body is turned into nutrient-rich soil. The organization Recompose has spearheaded the legalization process across the country. This process is currently legal in Washington, Colorado, and Oregon with current efforts to legalize in California and New York. Learn more about Recompose and their human composting method.

What We Are Doing

Our organization and founding members continue to work closely with assembly members and Recompose in their efforts to legalize Natural Organic Reduction across the United States. The Order has been featured in numerous articles about this issue, and our founder, along with several founding members, has provided testimonies in favor of this legislation in several states. The Order has also created videos educating the public of the benefits of NOR, and used its social media platforms to mobilize support around this legislation.

What You Can Do

Learn more about the legalization efforts and get notifications for any calls to action by signing up for Recompose’s newsletter. If you have social media, you can also follow Recompose and the Order of the Good Death to get real time updates and alerts.


Alkaline Hydrolysis (also known as Aquamation or Water Cremation)

Background

Alkaline Hydrolysis is a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation. Instead of being burned at a high temperature, bodies are dissolved in liquid which eliminates the greenhouse gases that traditional cremation produces. Another benefit of this process is that Alkaline Hydrolysis can help to restore traditional native Hawaiian burial practices. Learn more about Alkaline Hydrolysis.

What We Are Doing

From consulting on the creation of the bill to providing testimony, The Order was instrumental in getting Alkaline Hydrolysis legalized in California. In addition to the Order of the Good Death creating videos, and publishing articles educating the public about the process and benefits of Alkaline Hydrolysis, we have continued to advocate for the legalization of this process across the country in press coverage and by putting out calls to action on our social media platforms.

What You Can Do

You can keep track of legalization efforts around the country as well as find out if it is legal in your state. If you have social media, you can also follow the Order of the Good Death to get real time updates and alerts about upcoming legislation. If you live outside of the U.S. find out whether Alkaline Hydrolysis is being spoken about and/or advocated for in your country.


Open Air Funeral Pyres

Background

As the name suggests, this is a practice where bodies are cremated outdoors under the open sky. This practice can provide a more intimate, healing experience for participants while also providing a pathway for some Indigenous tribes to restore traditional funeral and burial rituals. This practice is currently only legal in Crestone, Colorado but there are currently ongoing efforts to legalize this practice in Maine. Learn more about this practice.

What We Are Doing

The Order of the Good Death continues to share information and resources around this burial ritual with our audience as well as providing updated information on the legislative efforts in Maine.

What You Can Do

To find out ways to support the ongoing efforts in Maine, check out Good Ground Great Beyond.


The People’s Response Act

Background

On June 28, 2021 Congresswoman Cori Bush (MO-01), Congresswoman Ayanna Presley (MA-07), Congresswoman Jan Shakowsky (IL-09), and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) introduced the People’s Response Act which reframes public safety as a public health issue. This act would create a new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that would research and fund alternatives rooted in community health and safety, instead of incarceration and policing which often result in preventable bad deaths. Find out more information on this legislation.

What We Are Doing

The Order of the Good Death continues to vocally support this bill.

What You Can Do

There are two ways that you can support this legislation. The first is by signing the petition.

The second is by letting your Congressperson know that you support this act by contacting them. Resist.bot has made this easy; all you have to do is text ‘Resist’ to 50409 and Resist.bot will help you send an email or fax to your Congressperson.


Fetal Tissue Burial Laws

Background

Across the country, states are passing laws that place requirements on how fetal tissue and remains are handled. While legislation varies from state to state, the majority require that fetal tissue be buried or cremated as is required of human bodies. This type of legislation not only further stigmatizes abortion and miscarriage, but also allows the funeral industry and politicians to further exploit people and fuel their fear of death. Learn more about fetal tissue burial laws.

What We Are Doing

The Order of the Good Death has put together a list of resources and contacts for people navigating these laws. We continue to monitor legislation and push out calls to action when appropriate.

What You Can Do

As states continue to pass restrictive fetal tissue burial laws it is important to make your voice heard about how this places an undue burden on both providers and pregnant people. One easy way to reach out to your legislators is through Resist.bot. Simply text ‘Resist’ to 50409 and this service will turn your text messages into a letter to either fax or email directly to your chosen representatives.


African American Burial Ground Network Study

Background

Senate Bill 2827 of the 116th Congress was introduced as a way to study and find ways to identify, interpret, preserve, and record unmarked, previously abandoned, or otherwise underserved African American peoples’ burial grounds. To read the full text of this bill, click here. The bill was passed by the Senate on December 20, 2020 but was never passed by the House.

What We Are Doing

The Order of the Good Death was one of the official signers of this bill when it was introduced to the Senate by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Tim Scott (R-SC). In addition to this, The Order has continued to create videos and publish articles  centering on the history and preservation efforts of Black burial spaces.

What You Can Do

While Senate Bill 2827 (116th) has died, the bill can still be reintroduced in future sessions in a new bill or its measures can be included in larger bills (also known as ‘omnibus bills’). It is important to reach out to your legislators to let them know that this is an issue that matters to you and, as their constituent, you would like to see these measures passed in a new bill. One easy way to reach out to your legislators is through Resist.bot which you can text ‘Resist’ to 50409 and it will turn your text messages into a letter to either fax or email to your representatives.


End of Life Option Act

Background

The California End of Life Option Act (ABX2-15) allows terminally ill Californians to request medication to peacefully end their lives and free them from suffering. Read the full act.

What We Are Doing

In 2015, in addition to founder Caitlin Doughty serving on the Southern California Advisory Council for bill sponsor Compassion & Choices, the Order of the Good Death successfully launched a social media and information campaign to help get this bill passed.

What You Can Do

To stay up to date on current legislative efforts around end of life rights check out Compassion & Choices.