Brittany Maynard’s Legacy: One Year Later
(Washington, D.C. – Oct. 6, 2015) Compassion & Choices today released a new video featuring California death-with-dignity advocate Brittany Maynard to commemorate the first anniversary of the organization’s partnership with Maynard’s family.
The release of never-before-seen excerpts of Maynard’s original video, recorded in Aug. 2014, which launched this historic partnership one year ago today on Oct. 6, 2014, comes one day after California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a death-with-dignity bill inspired by her to become law.
“Brittany came on the scene and set in motion a chain of events leading to the passage of an aid-in-dying bill through the California legislature less than one year after her death. We had been trying to do that since 1991,” says Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, who coauthored the Oregon death-with-dignity law. “In 2014, there were aid-in-dying bills in four states. Immediately after Brittany’s emergence on the scene, lawmakers in 25 jurisdictions, plus the District of Columbia, introduced bills.”
“I decided to share my story…because I felt like this issue of death with dignity is misunderstood by many people in our community and culture,” Maynard says in the video.
“I chose this for myself,” Maynard continued. “I would never sit here and tell anyone else that they should choose it for them. But my question is: who thinks that they can sit there and tell me that I don’t deserve this choice?”
“Sometimes when life presents you with opportunities to do something that’s important, it’s really important not to turn your back on that opportunity” she concluded. “And so I’m just really trying to follow what I believe in my heart and in my mind is right.”
“The point of her speaking up was to hopefully influence, more importantly, move legislators to do something,” says Brittany’s husband, Dan Diaz, in the video. “Brittany and I then had that conversation…essentially asking, “’Is this something that you can do?’ And once we got to that point, then I told her that I would do whatever I possibly could.”
“My daughter’s choice in dying, the way she died, were (sic) her gift to the world, and it was done with love,” says Brittany’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, in the video.
“It was kind of a perfect match, if you will,” says Coombs Lee in the video. “We were ready, as an organization, to lift our sails, and the wind of Brittany’s message filled our sails. And so now, we are under full sail ahead. I don’t think anything can stop us now.”
“What we’ve done in the legislature has only been possible because of what Compassion & Choices has organized throughout the state, throughout the nation,” concludes California Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning in the video. He made this statement at a Sacramento news conference on Sept. 11, after the Senate and Assembly and Senate passed the End of Life Option Act during the special session of the legislature.
Three out of four Californians (76%) support the End of Life Option Act (ABX2-15), according to a poll released last month by the Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS) at the University of California, Berkeley. Support levels include 82 percent of Democrats, 79 percent of independents, 67 percent of Republicans and at least 69 percent across all other demographic categories, from gender to educational, income and age levels.
Besides California and Oregon, three other states authorize medical aid in dying: Washington, Montana and Vermont. A New Mexico appellate court recently overturned a 2014 district court ruling that aid in dying is a fundamental right under the state constitution, but the case will be heard by the New Mexico Supreme Court.