By Caroline Song
NBCnews.com has recently published an article titled “Bioethicist: Why Brittany Maynard Changes the Right-to-Die Debate” by Arthur Caplan. Maynard has recently been highlighted in the media due to her controversial decision to end her own life after being diagnosed at the age of 29 with a grade four glioblastoma multiform, an aggressive and lethal form of brain cancer. Maynard was given a timeline of six months to live. Due to the severity and restrictive aspects of her illness, Maynard elected to undergo death with dignity and has moved with her immediate family to Oregon where physician-assisted suicide was legalized over 14 years ago. Maynard, was originally a resident of California, where PAS is illegal. Maynard states that her ability to choose her own death gives her a great deal of relief and comfort. The debilitating nature of her disease pushes her to prioritize what time she has left and she hopes to spend that time traveling and with her family. She has since partnered with Compassion & Choices to help push for further legalization across the United States for death by dignity, also known as physician-assisted suicide, PAS. Currently, in the United States, PAS is legalized in 5 states; Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Mexico. Terminal patients that hope to utilize PAS are required to be a resident of the states that allow PAS and undergo examination by two physicians that reinforce the terminal diagnoses and that the patient is neither depressed or incompetent. Caplan writes that the debate Maynard has sparked is similar to past debates on both sides. There is nothing on Maynard’s side or her opponents that has not been said before. However, Maynard’s story is bringing in a younger audience and this new generation is taking interest in the right to die. According to Caplan, Maynard will leave behind a legacy similar to the movements the United States has seen in regards to homosexual marriage.
To read the article click here.