Posthumous Brittany Maynard video supports assisted suicide 

click to enlarge Brittany Maynard | Dan Diaz
  • (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
  • Dan Diaz, the husband of Brittany Maynard, watches a video of his wife, recorded 19 days before her assisted suicide death at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday March 25, 2015. Maynard was a 29-year-old California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life with the help of doctors. Her story drew widespread attention and has since recharged legislative efforts in California and elsewhere to make it legal for terminally ill patients to kill themselves with life-ending drugs.
In a video taken 19 days before her assisted suicide death, Brittany Maynard tells California lawmakers that no one should have to leave home to legally kill themselves under a doctor's care.

"Unfortunately, California law prevented me from getting the end-of-life option I deserved," she said in the recording released Wednesday, hours ahead of a Senate health committee hearing on the issue.

The 29-year-old California woman had terminal brain cancer and moved with her family to Oregon before killing herself last year in a death that drew widespread attention and has since recharged legislative efforts in California and elsewhere to make it legal for terminally ill patients to kill themselves with life-ending drugs.

"No one should have to leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering, and to plan for a gentle death," she said.

The bill is expected to face a strong challenge, led by medical and religious groups. Opponents see huge consequences for allowing doctors to prescribe fatal drugs.

Among the opponents are other terminally ill patients such as Kara Tippetts, a 38-year-old Colorado mother of four, who wrote an open letter to Maynard in October urging her not to end her life.

Tippetts wrote that suffering can be "the place where true beauty can be known." She died this month of breast cancer.

Advocates for aid-in-dying laws say legislators in at least 17 states have introduced similar measures this year. But past proposals have foundered in statehouses amid emotionally charged debates and strong opposition.

Some medical groups say prescribing life-ending medication violates a doctor's oath to do no harm, while some advocates for people with disabilities fear some sick patients would feel pressured to end their lives to avoid being a financial burden.

California advocates have said they would consider taking the issue to voters if it fails in the Legislature.

The practice is legal in five states, including Oregon, where Maynard moved before she took her life Nov. 1. The other states are Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington.

Before her death, Maynard had made her case public with online videos, which were viewed tens of millions of times.

Maynard's husband, Dan Diaz, and her mother, Deborah Ziegler, joined state lawmakers in Sacramento on Wednesday to release her taped testimony in support of Senate Bill 128.

The proposal by Sens. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would allow terminally ill patients to kill themselves in California with drugs and dosages recommended by a doctor.

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