Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that doctors predict will end her life within six months, has produced a video in conjunction with aid-in-dying advocacy organization Compassion and Choices meant to explain her decision to end her life with the aid of prescribed medication.
The video is powerful personal testimony in favor of a procedure only legally available in five states. Under Oregon's law, a physician may prescribe life-ending barbituates to a terminally ill patient who is of a sound mind to make such a decision.
Maynard moved out of California to exercise this control over her own death. She explains the decision to People magazine and offers some pointed criticism of state lawmakers who would interfere in such personal choices:
"Right now it's a choice that's only available to some Americans, which is really unethical," she says.
"The amount of sacrifice and change my family had to go through in order to get me to legal access to death with dignity – changing our residency, establishing a team of doctors, having a place to live – was profound," she says.
"There's tons of Americans who don't have time or the ability or finances," she says, "and I don't think that's right or fair."
"I believe this choice is ethical, and what makes it ethical is it is a choice," she says. "The patient can change their mind right up to the last minute. I feel very protected here in Oregon."
Reason TV produced a video in May 2013 featuring doctors in Oregon and Montana who've prescribed life-ending medication, as well as a 91-year-old retired California doctor who vows to "die with dignity" whether the state likes it or not.