Tag Archives: Brittany Maynard

California Governor Signs Assisted Suicide Bill Into Law

SACRAMENTO, October 5, 2015– On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown (D) signed a controversial bill into law that allows physicians to prescribe lethal doses of life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients. The law is highly controversial. Proponents of such legislation often refer to it as “Right to Die”, or “Death with Dignity“. Meanwhile, opponents of assisted suicide say it is nothing more than legalized murder.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown said. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

Last legislative session, proponents of the practice in Tennessee failed to pass an assisted suicide bill. Terminally ill attorney John Jay Hooker who has only been given months to live spearheaded the effort. Meanwhile, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont already have assisted suicide laws on the books. After two decades of debate, California became the fifth state to allow the practice.

Last year, the legislation was stopped by California lawmakers despite the heavily publicized story of Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill 29-year-old Californian who advocated for the legislation. Maynard left California and went to Oregon in order to have an assisted suicide. In a video recorded days before Maynard was prescribed the life-ending drugs, she told California lawmakers that the terminally ill should not have to “leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering and to plan for a gentle death.”

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Terminally Ill Cancer Patient Takes Her Own Life Under Death With Dignity Act

Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old who was terminally ill with brain cancer, died on Saturday through an assisted suicide, under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

According to The Oregonian, Maynard was diagnosed with grade four glioblastoma, “a highly malignant and aggressive form of brain tumor,” and in April, she was told that she had only “six months to live.”

In June, Maynard moved from California to Portland, Oregon, where she qualified for Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which allows doctors to prescribe lethal medication for the purpose of voluntary self-administration to terminally ill patients.

Before ending her own life on Saturday, Brittany Maynard posted a final farewell on Facebook:

Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more.

In October, Maynard partnered with the end-of-life choice advocacy organization, Compassion & Choices, to shed light on the concept of “dying with dignity,” which is legal in five states.

Sean Crowley, a spokesman for Compassion & Choices, said that Maynard is “educating a whole new generation on this issue.”

“She is the most natural spokesperson I have ever heard in my life,” said Crowley. “The clarity of her message is amazing. She is getting people to consider this issue who haven’t thought of it before.”

In an interview with PEOPLE, Maynard confirmed that she had discussed all available options with doctors.

My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control,” said Maynard. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

In response to criticism of her choice to end her own life, Maynard said, “For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me. They try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.

NBC News reported that in addition to the inevitable “seizures and excruciating headaches,” Maynard would face during her final days, she planned many “bucket list” moments before escaping “the final stages of her cancer on Saturday, a day she had long cited, by drinking a lethal mixture of water, sedatives and respiratory-depressing drugs.”

However, while the exact cause of Maynard’s death has not been disclosed, a Facebook post from Compassion & Choices stated, “She passed peacefully in her bed surrounded by close family and loved ones.

According to the obituary posted on Brittany Maynard’s website:

Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illnessShe moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland. Oregon is a place that strives to protect patient rights and autonomy; she wished that her home State of California had also been able to provide terminally ill patients with the same choice.”