Will Brittany Maynard Die with Dignity?
Brittany Maynard hugs her mother Debbie Ziegler
Terminally ill 29-year-old Brittany Maynard has released a new video as part of her joint campaign with Compassion & Choices to expand access to death with dignity in California and other states in the U.S.
Brittany has an aggressive, fatal form of brain cancer, diagnosed on New Year’s Day. She and her family took on the incredibly difficult task of moving from the San Francisco Bay Area to Portland, Oregon, to access Oregon’s death-with-dignity law authorizing the medical practice of aid in dying.
This medical practice offers terminally ill, mentally competent adults the option to request a prescription for medication they can take to end their dying process if it becomes unbearable.
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On New Year’s Day, after months of suffering through severe headaches, Brittany learned she had brain cancer. Three months later, after undergoing surgery, she found her brain tumor had grown massively. That is when physicians told her she would likely die within months.
Brittany has had her life-ending medication since shortly after that. She tentatively planned to take the medication in early November, but she has made it clear that timing depends entirely on how rapidly her cancer progresses and the severity of her symptoms.
“If November 2 comes along and I’ve passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I made,” says Brittany in the new video. “And if November 2 comes along and I’m still alive, I know that we’ll just still be moving forward as a family out of love for each other and that that decision will come later.”
In addition to Oregon, aid in dying is authorized in Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Compassion & Choices has campaigns to authorize this medical practice in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Jersey.