SACRAMENTO (CBSLA.com/AP) — The mother and husband of Brittany Maynard appeared Wednesday in the state capitol to support a bill that would allow terminally ill patients to end their lives in California.
Maynard, a terminally ill woman who moved to Oregon to legally end her life, died in November.
The 29-year-old Northern California woman had brain cancer. She argued in online videos that patients facing imminent death should be able to die on their own terms.
“Please help me carry out my daughter’s legacy. Please help me assure that other terminally ill patients don’t face what we had to face,” said Deborah Ziegler, Maynard’s mother.
She also spoke of the sacrifices Maynard had to make after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and not wanting to suffer through the final stages of the disease.
“We’d left friends. We’d left our supportive network. And yet, Brittany and I felt appreciative of her legal right in Oregon that she could decide when enough was enough,” she said.
On Wednesday, lawmakers introduced the End of Life Options Act to give Californians the right to end their lives with the aid of legally prescribed medication. It’s an option Maynard did not have and had to move to Oregon, where it’s been legal since 1997.
“Everybody should have the ability at the end of their life to have as much say-so over what they want to happen as possible,” Assemblywoman Susan Eggman said.
Maynard’s widower, Dan Diaz, also spoke out. He and Brittany had been married less than two years before she received the diagnosis.
“We lived in this state, and she would have preferred to have been able to pass away peacefully in this state,” he said.
Opponents of the legislation like Californians Against Assisted Suicide are against the act. The coalition is made up of religious, medical, civil rights and other organizations that deal with the disabled.
“We don’t believe that our legislators in Sacramento would pass it because if they really represent the interests of their constituents, their constituents pretty much would be against it,” said Luis Alvarado.
2007 was the last time a death-with-dignity bill was introduced but failed after intense lobbying from opponents.
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