Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Passes Away

On November 19, 2023, 96-year-old Rosalynn Carter passed away peacefully in her Georgia home days after entering hospice care. The former first lady had been diagnosed with dementia in May of this year. She is survived by her husband, Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States. The Carters were married for 77 years; they have four children and a combined 22 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

President Carter said, “Rosalynn was my equal partner in everything I ever accomplished. She gave me wise guidance and encouragement when I needed it. As long as Rosalynn was in the world, I always knew somebody loved and supported me.”

Mrs. Carter was a well-known advocate for mental health, caregiving, and humanitarian causes. She also wrote five books. According to the Carter Center, “Mrs. Carter worked tirelessly to create what she called ‘a more caring society.’” Her memorial service took place in Atlanta, Georgia on Tuesday, November 28.

Mrs. Carter was one of over a million Americans who receive hospice and palliative care every year. Christians should understand that hospice care is not assisted suicide. Rather, hospice care maximizes comfort and lessens the pain of someone whose end is near. The National Institute on Aging states that hospice care “focuses on the care, comfort, and quality of life of a person with a serious illness who is approaching the end of life.”

New York currently ranks last in the nation in hospice care utilization; only three out of 10 New Yorkers who are eligible for hospice use it. Bill S.4858-Hinchey/A.5587-Wallace, a NYCF-supported bill, would have established a new Office of Hospice and Palliative Care Access and Quality within the New York State Department of Health. Unfortunately, Gov. Kathy Hochul recently vetoed this important legislation.

Hospice and palliative care are essential health care components, and the state of New York should provide tangible care and support for its citizens who are suffering from terminal illnesses.

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