November 1st marked five years since 29 year-old Brittany Maynard peacefully and legally ended her own life.
You may remember Brittany’s story, published in People magazine, which put a face on a very personal decision of someone so young taking charge of their right to end to their intolerable suffering from terminal brain cancer. Brittany and her family had moved to Oregon, so she could utilize its Medical-Aid-In-Dying law because California did not have such a law.
People magazine just published an article on her life and legacy, which you can read on their website here: People.com/ human-interest/brittany-maynard-husband- 5-years-after-her-death/. It is accompanied by a five-minute Compassion & Choices video recounting her decision to leave her home in California to establish residency in Oregon, where Medical-Aid-In-Dying was authorized.
As of now, there are now 10 jurisdictions that authorize this end-of-life care option, representing more than one out of five people (22 percent) nationwide: Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
A few years ago, the Minnesota House and Senate independently took a survey at the Minnesota State Fair on Medical-Aid-In-Dying. Results revealed by the House were 67 percent and in the Senate 68 percent in favor of having the option to receive a prescription from their doctor if they were suffering with a terminal illness at the end of their life.
A third survey was independently conducted in September 2016, by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and stated, “Majority support for medical aid in dying exists in each region of the state. A legal option for Medical-Aid-In-Dying earns 74 percent support in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metropolitan area and 72 percent support in Greater Minnesota.”
I have long been advocating for legislation here in Minnesota for Medical-Aid-In-Dying and encourage you read the Bills HF 2152 or the companion, SF 2286, and understand for yourself, that this is not assisted suicide, as the opposition likes to reference it. There are so many safeguards in this legislation, that it could never be imposed on the unknowing or unwilling. Like Brittany, I have a passion to speak up for terminally ill individuals, who maybe don’t have a voice or a platform.
As Americans, we tend to avoid end-of-life conversations. Death is inevitable. Why are we so afraid to talk about it? Family gatherings around the upcoming holidays provide the perfect opportunity to bring up the subject. To start the discussion, every adult should have a health-care directive. You can obtain copies from your health care provider, or online at: https://www.pdffiller.com/ jsfiller-desk11/?projectId=352513678&expId=5727&expBranch=1#09d745dc9953ebba39cab3df057fad89. Let’s start the conversation.
Bobbi Jacobsen, Living with ALS