Made with Love

What is death with dignity?

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Joined May 30, 2010
Messages 19,337
About Brittany Maynard

This spring, 29-year-old newlywed Brittany Maynard learned that she had terminal brain cancer. After careful assessment of her prognosis and end-of-life choices, she and her family reluctantly decided to move from their San Francisco Bay Area home to Oregon, one of five states (including Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico) that authorize death with dignity.

Brittany and Dan on their wedding day, September 2012

Brittany recognizes it is unfair that the vast majority of people cannot access death with dignity because they do not have the resources and time to uproot their family, seek appropriate medical care and establish a support system.
As a result, in the few weeks she has left to live, Brittany wants to advocate for access for death with dignity in California and nationwide in partnership with Compassion & Choices, the nation's leading end-of-life choice advocacy organization.
Brittany Maynard's glioblastoma brain tumor is being treated with several strong prescription drugs designed to reduce swelling of the brain and to try to minimize debilitating seizures. Unfortunately, these drugs come with their own frustrating set of side effects including rapid weight gain and swelling of the face. In spite of some profound shyness regarding her new prescription drug-induced appearance, Brittany agreed to be interviewed on film regarding Death with Dignity because her strong belief in the ethics of this basic healthcare human right.
Brittany's mission is to keep her legacy alive through advocacy work, while bringing the lessons she has learned to her fellow millennials: in our time on earth all that counts are the people you love and the people who love you. Appreciate them. Don't miss a moment.

What is death with dignity?

Death with dignity is an option every person deserves, to reduce suffering at the end of life and die in comfort and control, with dignity. It has been ruled a constitutionally protected right in state and federal courts. Death-with-dignity or aid in dying is a medical practice in which a terminally ill and mentally competent adult requests, and a doctor prescribes, a life-ending medication the person self-administers. Recent national polling puts public support for aid in dying at 70 percent.

Brittany at home in San Francisco with her dog Charley

  • For Brittany, it means that when her suffering becomes too great, she can call everyone she loves to her side as she tells them she loves them and they say goodbye. For anyone who takes the prescription, it means falling off to sleep and peacefully passing on.
  • Oregon's Death With Dignity Act, which Brittany accessed, was the first in the nation. Its 17-year history shows that death-with-dignity laws are safe and work as designed. It has been thoroughly documented by the state health department, investigated by medical researchers and monitored by the news media. None of the concerns raised by opponents about coercion or abuse have ever materialized.
  • Death-with-dignity laws are voluntary. An eligible person can request the prescription, but no doctor is obligated to provide it. Once a prescription is written, the patient chooses when and whether to fill it – or take it. Most people never take it. Simply having the choice provides people a sense of peace in the face of uncertainty and fear that their suffering might be unbearable. It allows people the freedom to die in control, with dignity.

About Compassion & Choices

As the oldest and largest organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life, Compassion & Choices operates many programs and services.
Compassion & Choices advocates for death with dignity laws in states across the country so that every American can have the sense of peace that Brittany sought – without having to entirely uproot their life. The Brittany Maynard Fund, an initiative of Compassion & Choices, will be used to advance such laws.
Brittany with her mom Debbie, at age four

We use legal strategies, ballot measures and legislative efforts to make death with dignity accessible state-by-state. Currently we are campaigning in five states (California, Colorado, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut) for laws that will make aid in dying an authorized, regulated medical practice. Where it is already authorized (Montana, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington and Oregon) we run ongoing education campaigns for the public and health providers to expand access to aid in dying.
Our End of Life Consultation (EOLC) program provides free, confidential support anywhere in the country with trained experts who help people improve the quality of life they have left, achieve a peaceful death or plan ahead.
Our website is also a hub for resources to help families and individuals make their end of life plans. Compassion & Choices makes these resources available to help people start the conversation and make their wishes known so they can avoid unnecessary suffering in their final days and weeks.
Compassion & Choices is also active in the policy arena, and participates in the federal . It is a coalition of organizations committed to helping health care consumers get the best treatment, and the treatment they want – no more and no less.


Death with dignity is an option every person deserves, to reduce suffering at the end of life and die in comfort and control, with dignity :writing:


New member
Joined May 15, 2023
Messages 1
Even with the passage of time, these conversations continue to highlight the importance of compassion and personal choice during challenging moments.


New member
Joined Aug 16, 2023
Messages 1
While the thread might be from nine years ago, the topic of "death with dignity" remains an important and thought-provoking discussion. Brittany Maynard's story brings attention to the complexities of end-of-life choices and the ethical considerations surrounding them.
It's admirable how Brittany aimed to advocate for access to death with dignity, ensuring that individuals facing terminal illnesses have the option to make decisions aligned with their values. Just as her legacy lives on, exploring epitaph examples offers insights into commemorating lives in meaningful ways.
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