The Washington Post published an article discussing the rights of terminally ill patients to end their lives, focusing primarily on Brittany Maynard. Ms. Maynard, age 29, carries a prescription in her wallet, which was obtained from a doctor in Oregon, one of five states with legal protections for terminally ill patients who want to end their suffering. Ms. Maynard plans to use the prescription on November 1.
Ms. Maynard says that “I am not suicidal. If I were, I would have consumed that medication long ago. I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.”
The Post notes that Ms. Maynard qualified for physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, one of five states that permit such suicide under its Death with Dignity Act. Since it was enacted in 1997, 1,173 people in the state have had prescriptions written for lethal medications. Only 752 of them have used the drugs to die as of 2013.
Four other states — Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington — have similar laws. Bills have been introduced in seven other states, including Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.