Three months after her death, the family of Brittany Maynard was working to allow others the right to die in California. Maynard's mother and husband were scheduled to visit the state capitol Wednesday to urge legislators to back a bill that would allow doctors to give terminally ill patients prescriptions for fatal drugs, the Associated Press reported.
Two Democratic state senators, Bill Monning and Lois Walk, plan to introduce SB 128, also known as the End of Life Options Act. A similar bill failed in 2007, but "we think the time is opportune to have this conversation in California," Monning told Monterey County Weekly.
The issue gained national attention last fall when Maynard, a 29-year-old with inoperable stage 4 brain cancer, published YouTube videos and gave media interviews about her desire to end her life. In order to do so, Maynard moved from California to Oregon, one of five states that have Death with Dignity laws.
"Cancer is ending my life," Maynard told CBS News in October. "I am choosing to end it a little sooner and in a lot less pain and suffering."
She died Nov. 1 after taking lethal, prescribed barbiturates. Now, her family wants others to be able to do the same. SB 128 would allow mentally competent adults with six months or less to live to ask their doctors for life-ending drugs. Before her death, Maynard said all terminally ill people in the United States should have that right.
"Why should someone who willingly wants to avail themselves of this option have to go to another state? It just adds to the suffering and challenge at an already difficult time," Monning said.
The California Medical Association, which has fought right-to-die bills in the past, was reserving judgment on SB 128 until its leaders reviewed it. But its members traditionally oppose such legislation "because it is fundamentally incompatible with the physician's role as a healer," spokeswoman Molly Weedn told CBS News.
Other states with pending or planned right-to-die legislation include Pennsylvania, Maryland and Colorado.