Dying with Dignity

My old friend, Jack Kevorkian, wanted nothing more than to give people the right not to suffer from debilitating diseases and die in dignity.

Today, Jack would be happy to see that five states, including Washington and Oregon, have made it possible for people to do just that.

Brittany Maynard is among those benefitting from Oregon’s law.

She is 29 and she is dying from a terrible brain tumor that will soon take her life. Her death will be slow and frightful as the tumor inside her brain continues to grow.

When she found out how awful the transition from life to death would be, she opted to control her own ending. Even if, in the end, she doesn’t do it, she feels better having the choice. She now plans to die two days after her husband’s birthday on Nov. 1.

“There is not a cell in my body that is suicidal,” said Maynard in an interview with People Magazine.

In her last month of life Maynard is choosing to advocate for those who also want to die with dignity. She is not saying anything new – Jack and I had the same argument nearly 20 years ago. Call it what you will, but having the right to die is a choice that people should be permitted, not the government! I know that. He knew that. And so does Brittany.

Thankfully Brittany was able to move to Oregon with her family in order to make her transition less painful, but she is concerned that others don’t have the resources to take similar action. Only five states have laws on the books that make it possible for people to die with dignity, which leaves 45 states without options for people like Brittany.

Jack and I wanted everyone to have the option to decide how much they had to suffer – not the government.

It’s not suicide, it’s basic human dignity and a God-given right.

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