Brittany Maynard--a 29 year old woman who was recently diagnosed with a fatal brain tumor--has chosen to move to a state where she will have access to medication that will allow her to end her life on her own terms. The so-called "right to die" movement is slowly gaining traction around the country. Oregon, which is where Maynard relocated with her family, is one of five states that allow people with terminal illnesses access to life-ending medications in order to avoid suffering until their final breath.
Chicago recently played host to a national right to die convention, which attracted hundreds of people from across the country. Maynard is just one of many people fighting to enact death-with-dignity laws in other states. Oregon's statute permits physician-assisted aid in dying once a citizen meets specific criteria. The ACLU of Illinois is currently working to educate lawmakers in Springfield about the issue in order to lay the groundwork for a similar measure in Illinois. In an op-ed published on CNN.com, Maynard writes:
Now that I've had the prescription filled and it's in my possession, I have experienced a tremendous sense of relief. And if I decide to change my mind about taking the medication, I will not take it.
Having this choice at the end of my life has become incredibly important. It has given me a sense of peace during a tumultuous time that otherwise would be dominated by fear, uncertainty and pain.
Now, I'm able to move forward in my remaining days or weeks I have on this beautiful Earth, to seek joy and love and to spend time traveling to outdoor wonders of nature with those I love. And I know that I have a safety net.