SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The family of Brittany Maynard will release a new video recorded before her death of her testimony in support of California’s proposed aid-in-dying legislation ahead of a committee vote Wednesday.
Maynard was a young California woman with brain cancer who moved to Oregon to legally end her life with the help of doctors. Her story drew widespread attention and has recharged legislative efforts in California and elsewhere to make it legal for terminally ill patients to kill themselves with life-ending drugs.
Her husband, Dan Diaz, and her mother, Deborah Ziegler, were scheduled to join state lawmakers in Sacramento to release her taped testimony in support of SB128.
The bill by Sens. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, and Lois Wolk, D-Davis, would allow terminally ill patients to kill themselves in California with drugs and dosages recommended by a doctor. A Senate health committee will vote on the bill in the afternoon.
Currently, the practice is legal in five states, including Oregon, where Maynard moved before her suicide Nov. 1. The other states are Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington.
Before her death, the 29-year-old Maynard had made her case public with online videos, saying in clips that were viewed tens of millions of times that she should have been able to legally obtain life-ending drugs in California.
Advocates for aid-in-dying laws say legislators in Washington, D.C., and at least 17 other states have introduced similar legislation this year.
But past proposals have foundered in statehouses amid emotionally charged debates and strong opposition. Some medical groups say prescribing life-ending medication violates a doctor’s oath to do no harm, while some advocates for people with disabilities fear some sick patients would feel pressured to end their lives to avoid being a financial burden.
The proposal is expected to face a strong challenge, led by medical and religious groups. Opponents see huge consequences for allowing doctors to prescribe fatal drugs.
Advocates have said they would consider taking the issue to voters if it fails in the Legislature.