More than a year after Brittany Maynard’s tragic suicide, her husband continues to travel across the country to advocate for laws that allow other people to commit suicide with the help of a doctor.
Dan Diaz’s latest stop was in Ohio where he spoke during a Cleveland Clinic conference on Tuesday, The Plain Dealer reports. His wife, Brittany Maynard, committed suicide with a prescribed lethal dose of medicine in November 2014, after being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. She was 29.
Although cancer patients and pro-life groups tried to talk her out of the decision, it later appeared 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. Her tragic death was used to push a new doctor-prescribed suicide law in California.
Dozens more states have introduced assisted suicide legislation since Maynard’s suicide. A New Jersey bill to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide recently failed, and a New York bill is being considered. Currently, doctor-prescribed suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington, Vermont and California. Nothing has been proposed in Ohio yet, according to the local newspaper.
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During his talk Tuesday, Diaz claimed that it was unjust that he and Maynard had to leave their home in California and move to Oregon for Maynard to commit doctor-prescribed suicide, or, as Diaz called it, medical aid-in-dying.
“We had to pack up and leave and say goodbye to our friends and family,” Diaz said. “That was the part I wish we didn’t have to go through. I want that time back. That’s what was stolen from us.”
Diaz said his wife was afraid of suffering. He claimed that having the ability to end her life with the lethal dose of medication gave her peace. He said Maynard chose to end her life after months of research into clinical trials and treatments for glioblastoma.
“Brittany knew what was coming for her, and that included pain that could not be alleviated with morphine,” he said.
“Simply by having the (assisted suicide) medication, that fear vanished,” he continued. “Brittany had taken the control back from the tumor.”
Before she killed herself, Maynard also said she did not want to suffer.
“After months of research, my family and I reached a heartbreaking conclusion: There is no treatment that would save my life, and the recommended treatments would have destroyed the time I had left…” Maynard said. “I probably would have suffered in hospice care for weeks or even months. And my family would have had to watch that.”
Less than six months after her death, however, CBS’s 60 Minutes reported a breakthrough new treatment for Maynard’s cancer that brought hope to many in similar situations. Since her highly publicized suicide, other terminally ill cancer patients also have come forward to say that her case and theirs’ are not hopeless.
One was young Marine and father J.J. Hanson, who has stage four glioblastoma multiforme, the same terminal cancer that Maynard had, Live Action News reports. Hanson, like Maynard, was told that the cancer was not treatable and he only had a few months to live.
“[Brittany] took her cancer story public, and it was used to headline a national effort to ‘normalize’ assisted suicide; a notion that had previously been rejected by dozens of states,” Hanson wrote in a column for the New Jersey Star-Ledger. “The message sent to patients across the country, who, like me, wanted to fight and live was now — ‘assisted suicide may be the best option for you.’ I recognized this as a huge danger.”
Hanson said he sometimes wonders what would have happened if he had access to assisted suicide drugs.
“I would have lost the opportunity to make memories with my wife and son,” Hanson wrote. “I was terminal and I qualified under the New Jersey proposal, and a similar bill offered in New York. Assisted suicide is a decision that you can’t unmake. My wife would be without a husband and my son without a father.”