Terminally Ill 29-Year-Old Advocates Aid In Dying

Catrina Head Contributor
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Terminally ill 29-year-old Brittany Maynard wants the option to end her life.

“I can’t even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to know that I don’t have to die the way that it’s been described to me, that my brain tumor would take me on its own,” Maynard said in a video released by advocacy group Compassion & Choices.

Maynard moved from her home in San Francisco, Calif., to Portland, Ore., because California does not currently allow aid in dying, according to PR Newswire. Now, she is partnering with Compassion & Choices to launch “The Brittany Maynard Fund” to raise awareness about the need to expand aid in dying laws nationwide, so that others will have access to the same privileges as her.

Compassion & Choices advocates for what they refer to as “death with dignity laws” in hopes of making this a legal option in more states. Currently, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Oregon implement aid in dying laws. The organization is campaigning in California, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

The American College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine does not take the same position as Compassion & Choices on the subject. It believes that regardless of moral implications, aid in dying would pose serious societal risks.

Lois Snyder, JD, and Daniel P. Sulmasy, OFM, MD, PhD, for the Ethics and Human Rights Committee, ACP–ASIM composed a position paper on the subject in 2001, stating the organization’s claims:

“Physician-assisted suicide should not become standard medical care. The ramifications are too disturbing for the patient–physician relationship and the trust necessary to sustain it; for the medical profession’s role in society; and for the value our society places on life, especially on the lives of disabled, incompetent, and vulnerable persons.”