Sean Crowley, spokesman for the non-profit organization Compassion & Choices, confirmed Maynard's death Sunday evening. "She died peacefully on Saturday, Nov. 1 in her Portland home, surrounded by family and friends," according to a statement from Compassion & Choices. The statement said Maynard suffered "increasingly frequent and longer seizures, severe head and neck pain, and stroke-like symptoms." She chose to take the "aid-in-dying medication she received months ago."
Her death brings a new element to the movement in the age of social media because the conversation has included younger people. "She's changed the debate by changing the audience of the debate," Abraham Schwab, an associate professor of philosophy at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, told the Associated Press earlier.
Maynard was diagnosed with a stage 4 malignant brain tumor. She moved with her family from California to Oregon, where she could legally die with medication prescribed under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.
"I understand she may be in great pain, and her treatment options are limited and have their own devastating side effects, but I believe Brittany is missing a critical factor in her formula for death: God," said Joni Eareckson Tada last month in an article for Religion News Service.
CMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics): “I’m deeply saddened by Brittany Maynard’s suicide. As far as we know, she had no hope—despite Joni Erickson Tada, Kara Tippets (who is dying with Stage 4 breast cancer) and others pointing her toward God, our real source of hope. I’m saddened because Compassion and Choices used and possibly abused her as their ‘poster child’ for legalizing physician-assisted suicide in a slick media campaign that drew millions of Facebook and YouTube hits, as well as enormous favorable media attention. I can’t help but wonder why she announced she was going to postpone her suicide, only to take her life two days later? Did she feel pressured or obligated to do it?
“I’m even more saddened that many more patients are likely to die because Ms. Maynard glorified suicide as the answer to suffering, and it won’t just be highly controlling, terminally ill patients like her. In the short term, it will be vulnerable teens and the depressed. In the long run, it will be handicapped newborns, Alzheimer’s patients, the chronically sick and the mentally ill, as we have already seen in Europe. It’s inevitable, despite all the so-called safeguards. Who can deny ‘this right to death with dignity’ to anyone who is suffering or is even afraid they may suffer in the future? And if the patient is incompetent, should the physician, exhausted caregiver or the son or daughter set to inherit the estate decide ‘on their behalf?’ Ultimately, it will kill the ethos of healthcare as doctor-patient trust is destroyed.
“It is too late for Brittany, but not for you and me to speak the truth in love to alter the predictable future. I’m heading to New Jersey next week to meet with legislators to urge them to say ‘No’ on an expected physician-assisted suicide vote scheduled for Thursday, November 13. I’m then traveling from one end of Montana to the other, speaking out against physician-assisted suicide in every major city and doing media interviews along the way to hopefully halt their march off the physician-assisted suicide cliff.
“What are you going to do to alter the future—before it is too late?”
CDD STAT Interview with Kara Tippetts, a stage-four cancer patient
Euthanizing Medicine, a presentation on the implications of legalizing physician-assisted suicide
Top Reasons Why Physician-Assisted Suicide Should Not Be Legal
Physician-assisted suicide legislation is now being attempted in California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Pennsylvania. If you’d like to get involved in the fight against this dangerous legislation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.