Brittany Maynard was clearly working with the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices when she took a lethal drug to end her life and released a video in conjunction with the euthanasia group about her decision.
Now a new revelation has come out about the extent to which Maynard worked with and had contact with assisted suicide activists in the time leading up to her killing herself. A new report indicates she emailed a woman who illegally provided lethal drugs to her own father that he used to take his life.
A People magazine report indicates Maynard, the day she committed suicide, sent an email to activist Barbara Mancini, who is best known for enabling her father to kill himself.
Mancini’s father Joe Yourshaw was in hospice care when he asked his daughter for a bottle of morphine. She provided the morphine to him and Yourshaw took an overdose of morphine with the intent to commit suicide. A hospice nurse called 911, and Yourshaw was revived at the hospital. He died four days later after attempts were made to save his life.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane’s office was asked to prosecute the casebut it was eventually thrown out because of lack of evidence about how Yourshaw ultimately died. At the time, Michael Ciccocioppo, executive director of the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation, told ABC News that Yourshaw should be prosecuted it it could be proved that she broke the state’s ban on assisted suicides.
“If a person beyond a reasonable doubt committed assisted suicide, justice needs to be served and the law needs to be adjudicated,” he said then.
Compassion and Choices, whose roots can be traced back to the pro-euthanasia Hemlock Society, represented Mancini in the case and the pro-assisted suicide group pressured state Attorney General Kane to drop the case.
Enter Brittany Maynard.
As People magazine indicates, Maynard and Mancini, who is now an activist seeking to legalize assisted suicide in other states, corresponded on the day she died. Maynard told Mancini in her email that she thought it was wrong that Mancini was ever charged with breaking the assisted suicide ban in Pennsylvania and giving her father the deadly drugs he used that ultimate took his life.
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“I felt a connection with her on a deep level because of what my experience was, so I wrote her a short message,” Mancini said about initially emailing Maynard. “I never expected her to respond to me because her life was a whirlwind and she was dealing with a terminal illness.”
But on Nov. 1 – the day Maynard ended her own life – Mancini got an email back.
“It meant so much for me to receive your kind letter the other day, especially as I’m preparing for my own passing,” Maynard wrote, according to a copy of the email given to PEOPLE.
“Yes, I am familiar with the history of your case and have always been appalled that it was ever litigated,” she wrote.
“I am so sorry you had to endure that,” she wrote. “It was clear to me, in my heart, that you were doing your very best to care for your terminally ailing father.
“That is a difficult job,” she wrote. “As a terminally ill person myself, I understand what the level of sacrifice means for a loving and supportive family on an emotional, physical and financial level.”
As People indicates, Mancini is now traveling the country seeking to overturn laws banning assisted suicide that protect the disabled, elderly and terminally ill patients.
The euthanasia lobby claims pain as a reason for legalizing assisted suicide, but studies show pain is not a leading factor in suicides. In Oregon, where physician-assisted suicide is legal, studies show that pain is one of the last reasons people give for committing suicide. Depression – a treatable condition – “is the only factor that significantly predicts the request for death.”
For pr-life people, the best way to help those who may consider assisted suicide is to provide mental health support for the depression and pain relief for the physical pain.
“One thing is for sure,” Ciccocioppo said. “People in pain have a right to relieve their pain, and we don’t have a problem with that. But the same Supreme Court decision … also upheld assisted suicide laws and the rights of the states to say it’s not legal. We stand by that to the end.”