Twenty-nine-year-old Brittany Maynard made an emotional video of herself pleading with California lawmakers to help her die with dignity and peace. She was denied any life-ending assistance to relieve the pain from her debilitating brain cancer and moved to Oregon, where such services have been legal since 1997. She passed away in the State of Oregon on November 1, 2014.
Her death reignited the debate in California and Senator Lois Wolk, a Democrat in Davis, introduced the “End of Life Option Act” opening the debate saying the bill is “about how we die in California” and to permit terminally ill people to “voluntarily die in peace.” Wolk has firsthand experience with watching a loved one suffer; her mother battled cancer, saying:
Simply having a prescription is in itself a source of relief, knowing that if things got really bad that one would have an option to end one’s life with less suffering and in peace.
The measure passed along party lines with 23 Democrats in favor and 14 Republicans against it. Governor Jerry Brown has yet to take a stance on the issue.
Republicans are offering “arguments” against the bill like:
“For me, it’s unconscionable, and I can’t be party to it.” —John Moorlach, R, Irvine (also against increasing the minimum wage)
“Greedy heirs can have an influence.” —Jeff Stone, R, Murrieta (also against the Affordable Care Act)
“Doctors should kill disease. They should kill pain. They should not kill their patients.” —Ted Gaines, R, Rocklin (also against abortion)
And, of course, many of them cited suicide as a sin.
The legislation in its current form calls for patients to make at least two oral requests from their physician, with witnesses present, at least 15 days apart. It would be a felony for coercing a patient or forging a request. The medication would have to be self-administered.
All that’s needed now to pass this legislation is a House vote and the Governor’s signature.
Brittany Maynard’s husband and mother, Debbie Ziegler, attended the two hour debate on Thursday. After the debate, Debbie Ziegler approached lawmakers to offer them a hug and tell them how grateful she is for trying to realize her daughter’s last wish, saying:
She used the last portion of her life to fight for the rights of other terminally ill patients. These are people who have no hope.
WATCH Brittany’s Video on her right to die with dignity:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mi8AP_EhM94?feature=player_embedded&w=640&h=360]
Featured image via screen capture from the video above.