On the day Brittany Maynard would have turned 30-years-old, supporters of “Death with Dignity” laws have released a video showing Maynard asking for such laws to be passed across the country. Maynard had moved to Portland, along with her husband, so that she could choose when she died from an inoperable brain tumor.
The video was released to launch a national initiative by a Portland organization, Compassion & Choices, who is asking for “Death with Dignity” laws to be expanded nationwide. Maynard narrated the video and called for people who support “Death with Dignity” laws to contact legislators in their states to get laws passed that allow people to die on their own terms.
“I hope for the sake of other American citizens all these people that I’m speaking to that I’ve never met, that I’ll never meet, that this choice be extended to you. That we mobilize, that we vocalize, that we start to talk about it…I’m coming to realize how much our culture fears death and shuns death, and how much of the medical community… feels as though they almost view death as failure…If I can play even the smallest part in helping to reduce fear or misunderstanding, then it’s worth speaking up for.”
Maynard’s story has prompted some lawmakers to take action on passing “Death with Dignity” laws. As CBS News reported, the New Jersey Assembly passed a “Death with Dignity” law on November 13 allowing physicians to write prescriptions for life-ending drugs to terminally-ill patients. The bill was introduced by Assemblyman John Burzichelli whose sister, Claudia Burzichelli, died from lung cancer in 2013.
He stated that he introduced the legislation because so much attention had been brought to the issue by Maynard’s story. The law passed just two weeks after Maynard ended her life on November 1. Barbara Coombs Lee, who is the president of Compassion & Choices, said the organization lobbied for the NJ bill and its passage was “in memory and spirit of Brittany Maynard.”
“Death with Dignity” laws have recently been introduced in several other states including Colorado, Pennsylvania, and California by lawmakers touched by Maynard’s story. Maynard and her husband of one-year, Dan Diaz, had been residents of Northern California’s Bay Area before they decided to move in order to allow Maynard to choose death with dignity.
However, the “Death with Dignity” bills are not without their opponents. As the Inquisitr reported, the Vatican considered Maynard’s “Death with Dignity” decision a “reprehensible act.”
NBC News reported that Maynard’s website, http://www.thebrittanyfund.org/, will be the hub for the campaign to get “Death with Dignity” laws passed. Along with New Jersey and Oregon, people also have the option for death with dignity in New Mexico, Montana, Vermont, and Washington.