Brittany Maynard Kills Self Under Oregon’s ‘Death With Dignity Act’


PORTLAND – Despite pleas from numerous concerned citizens across the country—including those who are fighting terminal diseases themselves, Brittany Maynard ended her life under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act”.

The 29-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with brain cancer, wrote to followers prior to her death that she wanted them to push other states to permit people to kill themselves under similar circumstances.

“As my time draws closer, I hope you will all take up my request to carry on this work, and support [my family and friends] as they carry on my legacy,” she wrote.

“Dan and I have given up our dreams of having a family. My mother is soon to lose her only child. We can all agree that no parent should bury their child,” she concluded.

As previously reported, Maynard announced early last month that she would end her life on November 1st unless she decided “to change [her] mind about taking the medication [to hasten her death].”

On New Year’s Day this year, Maynard was diagnosed with Astrocytoma and underwent brain surgery days later to help stop the cancerous tumor from growing. She was given ten years to live.

In April, Maynard learned that the cancer had progressed to Glioblastoma multiforme, and was more aggressive than ever. She was advised that she instead had six months to live, and was informed about various treatment possibilities. She had, however, outlived her six-month prognosis.

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Maynard explained in a recent op-ed for CNN said that she rejected the treatment options because they would impact her “quality of life,” and also decided not to pursue hospice care because she did not want her family to watch her suffer.

“Because the rest of my body is young and healthy, I am likely to physically hang on for a long time even though cancer is eating my mind,” she wrote. “I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.”

Maynard outlined that she then began researching euthanasia, or as she called it, “death with dignity,” and concluded that it was her “best option.” However, because euthanasia is illegal in California, she and her husband moved to Oregon, which passed a law allowing the practice in 1997. Approximately 750 people have died under the legislation since its enactment.

The 29-year-old then obtained a prescription for a medication that would hasten her death. According to People Magazine, Maynard “will pull apart 100 capsules of the sedative secobarbital, dissolve them in water, drink it— and slip into a final, irreversible sleep.” She also decided to establish a fund that will go toward efforts to legalize euthanasia in other states, the “work” that she asked her friends and family to undertake in her new message on the Brittany Maynard Fund website.

But a number of those who heard Maynard’s story, including those who are struggling with terminal illnesses themselves, had been seeking to reach out to the young woman and urge her not to take her death into her own hands.

“Brittany, I love you, and I’m sorry you are dying. I am sorry that we are both being asked to walk a road that feels simply impossible to walk,” 37-year-old wife and mother Kara Tippetts, whose breast cancer has metastasized throughout her body, wrote in a public letter recently. “[But] in your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with the such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths. … That last kiss, that last warm touch, that last breath, matters—but it was never intended for us to decide when that last breath is breathed.”

“Brittany, I ache for you and your family. I pray that your tumor will make a miraculous change for the better. And if that does not happen, I pray that whenever you pass away, you know the Lord,” also wrote 39-year-old wife and mother Heather Laurie, who suffers from mitochondrial disease. “I choose to die with dignity. The dignity of awaiting the Lord’s timing. When He calls, I shall with great joy join Him in Heaven and leave behind the pain and suffering this body had developed, but I will not allow one second to be shaved off of that life because I am scared.”

“Yes, I have to take lots of medications daily. I now take as much as 21 hours a day attached to an IV pole. An oxygen line is my new partner all day and night. I can no longer even eat via my mouth and yet I still continue. I hurt. I am nauseous. I am sick and weak,” she shared. “[But] there is so much that you can do even when leashed by an IV pole and needing to spend hours in bed or a power wheelchair. Life will find you where you are. And life is good!”

“If I could spend a few moments with Brittany before she swallows that prescription she has already filled, I would tell her how I have felt the love of Jesus strengthen and comfort me through my own cancer, chronic pain and quadriplegia,” penned 65-year-old author and advocate for the disabled Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been paralyzed from the shoulders down since a teenager and who was diagnosed with cancer in 2010. “I would tell her that the saddest thing of all would be for her to wake up on the other side of her tombstone only to face a grim, joyless existence not only without life, but without God.”

“[Taking the fatal dosage] will provide only a temporary reprieve and will only more quickly usher in an eternity separated from God, which would be ultimate and pointless suffering,” she continued. “Life is the most irreplaceable and fundamental condition of the human experience, and I implore Brittany and others considering her example to take a long, hard look at the consequences of a decision that is so fatal, and worst of all, so final.”

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  • Conservative seer

    Its so sad, why do people choose to give up on life ?, why not fight until ur last breathe? , why not go out like a champion? , the gospel does not condone suicide, thats an eternity in Hell

  • NWaff

    I have a friend who was diagnosed with a terminal brain cancer. He was told he’ll live only 6 months. That was over 18 years ago

    • OldArkie

      I to have such a friend, & she is still living enjoying life, especially her grandchildren. And I feel sure there’s many more of them out there. Some just do not understand the doctors are not in control of life, God is in control.

    • buzzkill2014

      Sounds like a mis-diagnosis.

      • NWaff

        You don’t do chemo with a mis-diagnosis

    • Evolution is a fact

      That’s good news for your friend, but completely irrelevant.

      • NWaff

        It is completely relevant to everyone with 6 months to live and may be around 18+ years from now, which they’ll never have if you kill themselves.

    • MamaBear

      Cancer can be very unpredictable. Every time I try to pin my oncologist down to any kind of timeline, he just tells me that I am not a statistic. Median survival for my cancer is three years. But, some (about 5%) make it 10+ years. Doctors have no way to tell who those people will be. So, I will be here until my treatments stop working and God takes me home. In Psalm 139, it says God wrote our days in His book before we were even born.

  • buzzkill2014

    It was her personal decision. For anyone else to comment on what she should or should not have done is absurd.

    • dawnrosanne

      buzzkill, I respectfully disagree. Brittney made the choice to go public about her condition and the decision she was facing. She opened herself up to a debate like this. She actually encouraged debate. She wants Americans to have this conversation……and we are. Some people are making harsh and judgmental statements/ others are saying they would do the same if they were in her shoes/yet others (like myself ) express sorrow that she took her own life. No matter what, it’s okay for people to express themselves about her decision. I think she would have actually appreciated that.

    • Teri Wright-Paul

      It was not her decision though. That is what you aren’t getting. People are going to talk about this because God is the author of our birth & death and we are not to commit suicide because ‘we want to avoid’ a painful death. She ultimately took action on a decision she should not have taken. God gave us this life and He is the only One who knows our last breath.

      • Evolution is a fact


      • Phipps Mike

        he also gave us FREE WILL…aka a CHOICE. God has us choose every decision we make on our own. If we weren’t allowed free will, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to commit suicide.

        • MamaBear

          Adam and Eve had free will. They chose to use it to bring sin into the world.
          Free will simply means we are able to chose to disobey what God wants for us.

          • Phipps Mike

            sorry to hear about your cancer, MamaBear. My cousin refused dialysis initially, ended up losing 4 of 5 toes on one foot then died about a year later. He was only a year older than me (51).

            I understand what you mean about sin but I was simply saying that even if it is a sin, God doesn’t make the choice FOR us as Teri said: “He is the only One who knows our last breath.”

  • Phipps Mike

    I don’t believe for ONE second that suicide is an unforgivable sin and especially if it’s to escape excruciating, ongoing, endless physical pain. this is a very sad story and I certainly wont judge this lady (not my place anyway to do that) for making this very hard choice. Anybody that believes God intends people to live in endless pain or lose him as their savior is a quack.

    • Samantha

      I don’t believe that anyone was saying that she would lose salvation; I think they were questioning whether she had salvation in the first place. I don’t believe she had put her faith in Christ; she never once stated so, and, while going public about something such as suicide, I think one would also be public concerning their faith. It’s very sad that she is no longer able to make that decision to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation.

      • Phipps Mike

        “while going public about something such as suicide, I think one would also be public concerning their faith.”

        good point.

  • JulieAnn Scarborough-Hamilton

    What seriously disturbs me in reading posts here is that you, human beings, people and NOT God, are determining that you possess some totally and completely unbiblical right to make the judgement to consign the young woman to Hell. Something that you certainly SHOULD realize is utterly forbidden throughout the teachings of Jesus Christ. You know absolutely nothing of what her spiritual condition as it pertains to God and Christ were and are. And you know nothing of the magnitude of her suffering and what the horror of the pain was. But that does not stop you from presuming, nevertheless. So many of you go on and on about how YOU choose to believe that she is in a damned state now and for all eternity….. And the truly pathetic part is that I honestly and truly believe that many of you actually LIKE the idea! I am a born again Christian, saved since the age of sixteen, and I have no reason to feel that I would choose what she has, however, neither will I pretend to know the Mind of Almighty GOD, and arrogantly attempt to take away HIS sole right to determine the eternity of a young woman whose heart ONLY He knows. I have said what I believe I was led by God to say, and I will not enter into strife with any others choosing to respond. In the Love and Compassion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, JulieAnn <3

    • KenS

      If at anytime in her life, she accepted Jesus as her savior, she is now in heaven with Him, if; however, she did not accept Him as her savior, she is not in heaven. Those are the facts of the matter… There is only one sin that is unpardonable and that is the blaspheme of the Holy Spirit, and if she was saved already, the bible clearly states that a saved person is incapable of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it again comes down to whether or not she was saved before or not.

      • JulieAnn Scarborough-Hamilton

        Which is *all* I *ever* said. Thank you. <3

        • KenS

          My comment was meant more for all the naysayers that were trying to judge her without all the facts, I replied to your comment since it seemed more in line with what I was thinking.

          • JulieAnn Scarborough-Hamilton

            Much appreciated, Ken. Again, thank you. Blessings, JulieAnn <3

      • Evolution is a fact

        Facts? Yikes.

      • John_33

        No, that is not true. Accepting Christ does not mean that you can do anything you want. If a person ‘accepts Christ,’ can they then commit murder, rape, adultery, and then commit suicide and go to heaven? No. Jesus told us to examine people based on their fruit. Good men don’t do evil things. Christians are made free from sin, not free to sin.

  • ourdemascam

    Why are lethal injection drugs so complicated and fraught with problems if euthanasia drugs are so straightforward?