Brittany Maynard, the cancer patient who received national attention over her plan to kill herself under Oregon’s assisted suicide law on November 1 has taken her own life. That’s despite the fact that cancer patients and pro-life groups have tried to talk her out of the decision.
The Portland Oregonian newspaper first reported that Brittany died Sunday afternoon after taking her own life with legally-prescribed lethal drugs. People magazine confirmed her death an hour later in a news report.
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” Brittany wrote on Facebook. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my best as I type …. Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”
Her death comes despite her decision last week to postpone her suicide — with Maynard telling CBS that it “doesn’t seem like the right time now” to end her life.
“I still feel good enough and I still have enough joy and I still laugh and smile with my family and friends enough that it doesn’t seem like the right time right now,” Maynard said late last week in that interview. “But it will come, because I feel myself getting sicker. It’s happening each week.”
The Portland Oregonian has more, and relies on multiple comments from Maynard’s family and friends on her official Facebook page who indicate she had taken her life:
Numerous Facebook posts by relatives and friends indicate Brittany Maynard, the terminally ill 29-year-old who has said she moved to Oregon to use the Death with Dignity Act, has died.
The Oregonian is attempting to confirm details. Messages began populating Facebook pages and Twitter accounts this afternoon. But we have not yet independently verified that Maynard has died.
Sisters Summer Holmes-Phillips and Erica Holmes-Kremitzki posted on their Facebook page that their “aunt, uncle, and Dan” are saying goodbye to Brittany.
“She will live on in our hearts and I will continue to share her message, just as I promised her I would,” posted Holmes-Kremitzki. “Fly with the angels, Brittany. I know you’ll watch over us all.”
She also posted that Maynard was not set on dying on Nov. 1, “but as her condition worsened and the tumor took over control, it became increasingly more difficult for her to function. One comfort, is that she was able to make the choice to end her suffering before she was unable to function at all. That’s what SHE wanted.”
Advocacy group Compassion & Choices spokesman Sean Crowley on Sunday afternoon said he could not confirm Maynard’s death “in respecting the family’s wishes.”
He added that Maynard “is educating a whole new generation on this issue. She is the most natural spokesperson I have ever heard in my life. The clarity of her message is amazing. She is getting people to consider this issue who haven’t thought of it before. She’s a teacher by trade and, she’s teaching the world.”
He said Compassion & Choices will make a statement Sunday or Monday.
After suffering from severe headaches, Brittany Maynard found out she had stage II glioblastoma multiforme and had up to ten years to live. However, after she had surgery, doctors found out that she had the most deadly form of brain cancer, stage IV glioblastoma multiforme. The cancer usually kills its victims in a matter of months.
After her diagnosis, Brittany decided that she wanted to move from her California home to Oregon so that she could have access to the “death with dignity” prescription. She had plans to die in her home surrounded by her mother, stepfather, husband and best friend.
Last week, Maynard Maynard said she had two seizures a week prior and she recalled how she looked at her husband, but she couldn’t say his name and wound up going to the hospital after the second seizure.
“I think sometimes people look at me and they think. ‘Well you don’t look as sick as you say you are,’ which hurts to hear, because when I’m having a seizure and I can’t speak afterwards, I certainly feel as sick as I am,” she says in the video. “When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up.”
Still, one woman with the same diagnosis desperately urged Maynard to reconsider.
Although cancer patients and pro-life groups tried to talk her out of the decision, it now appears that Maynard may have either been used by assisted suicide advocates to promote their agenda or may have been a part of a plan working in concert with them to attempt to legalize assisted suicide in additional states.
Some assisted suicide opponents say Maynard’s case has been used by euthanasia activists to promote assisted suicide. Case in point: the video Maynard released last week saying she would postpone her death was released by the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion & Choices, which has pushed to legalize assisted suicide in numerous states.
Maynard herself pushed assisted suicide in a statement accompanying the video:
“I want to thank you for your incredible support. The outpouring of kindness that I have received since my story went public has been astounding. You’ve helped put the death-with-dignity movement in the hearts and minds of millions of Americans. All across the country, lawmakers have reached out saying that they want to introduce legislation to authorize aid in dying. That is real progress towards change,” a statement from Maynard reads on the YouTube video page.
The video also featured Maynard’s mother, who looks the other way at her daughter’s decision to kill herself.
“It’s not my job to tell her how to live,” her mother, Debbie, says in the video. “And it’s not my job to tell her how to die.”
Oregon is one of five states, along with New Mexico, Montana, Washington , and Vermont, that allow assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act passed in 1997 and has resulted in 1,173 prescriptions, with 752 deaths resulting from access of the medication.