Brittany Maynard, Advocate for Physician-Assisted Suicide, Dies

By Rachel Stewart

Brittany Maynard, the 29 year-old and proponent of the “right-to-die” campaign, ended her own life on Saturday, November 1.

Sunday evening, Sean Crowley, spokesperson for the non-profit organization Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life advocacy group that has been working with Maynard, made a statement saying, “She died as she was intended–peacefully in her bedroom, in the arms of her loved ones.”

Maynard took a lethal dose of barbiturates, prescribed by a doctor, to end her life, but before she did, she made a post on Facebook.  She said, “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. The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”

Maynard had stage four glioblastoma, a type of brain tumor, and was told by doctors last spring that she had six months to live.  She then made headlines by declaring that she intended to end her life and become the new face for the right-to-die movement.  Her story spread rapidly by a YouTube video, in which she explains her choices, and it received 9 millions views. She and her family moved from California to Oregon, so she could die under Orgeon’s Death with Dignity Act. According to this law, “The person must be capable, an adult, live in state and have been diagnosed with a terminal illness that will lead to death within six months.”

Four other states, Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Mexico, allow patients to seek help from a doctor in ending their life.

When asked what they thought of the “right-to-die” issue, junior Anna Starkey commented, “We as individuals should be in charge of what happens to ourselves.”  Another junior, Jackie Thompson, had similar thoughts, “I think that you have the right, but if it is allowed, it’s gotta be regulated.”

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