New Video Offers Brittany Maynard's Plea for Death with Dignity Laws Passed Nationwide

A posthumous message featuring the cancer patient urges passage of compassionate state laws

Photo: Courtesy Brittany Maynard

On what would have been Brittany Maynard‘s 30th birthday, her supporters have released a new video with her issuing a “call to action” for getting Death with Dignity laws passed nationwide.

“I hope for the sake of other American citizens all these people that I’m speaking to that I’ve never met, that I’ll never meet, that this choice be extended to you,” Maynard says in the video, which was recorded Aug. 2.

“That we mobilize, that we vocalize, that we start to talk about it,” she said. “I decided to share my story because I felt like this issue of death with dignity is misunderstood by many people in our community and culture.

On Oct. 3, nearly a month before her death, Maynard told PEOPLE that she did not want to live to see her 30th birthday because it would just be too sad for her.

“The idea of celebrating my 30th birthday is quite difficult because my life was moving forward in such a great way,” she told PEOPLE, “and to get this diagnosis turns your whole life upside down.”

Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, an end-of-life choice advocacy organization that Maynard partnered with before her death, hosted a webinar press conference to release the video and officially launch the campaign.

“As we mark what would be her 30th birthday, we recall Brittany’s selfless efforts to help ensure that other dying Americans get access to the death-with-dignity choice,” Lee, who co-authored Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, told reporters.

“Brittany Maynard is the new voice for the movement,” Lee said. “She’s the new voice for a new generation of activists.”

Sean Crowley, a spokesman for the group, said there may be more future videos that will include Maynard.

“We shot a lot of video with her,” he told reporters during the webinar.

Also in attendance were Pennsylvania State Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat who’s already introduced Death with Dignity legislation in his state, and State Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, a Republican from Wyoming who plans to introduce similar legislation there.

PHOTOS: Brittany Maynard’s Life and Legacy

On Nov. 1, Maynard, 29, who’d moved to Oregon with her family to have access to the state’s Death with Dignity Act, ended her own life with barbiturates prescribed to her by a doctor, something terminally ill people can do legally in Oregon, provided they meet specific criteria.

On Oct. 6, Maynard launched an online video campaign with Compassion & Choices to fight for death with dignity laws nationwide. Wednesday’s video is the third of its kind for the campaign.

“For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me,” Maynard told PEOPLE on Oct. 3. “They try to mix it up with suicide, and that’s really unfair because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.”

Before her passing, Maynard asked her mother, Debbie Ziegler, and husband, Dan Diaz, to carry on her work after she’s gone.

“She said if I was so inclined that she would like to see the work on getting death with dignity passed in all 50 states go on,” Ziegler, 56, told PEOPLE last month.

“She would like to see that not stop, not be a 15-minute thing,” said Ziegler, who gave her daughter her promise.

“We want to let people know that this is not as frightening as anyone makes it out to be,” she says. “It’s really one choice of many. We all have many, many choices on how we handle our last days when we learn we are very ill, and everyone’s choice should be honored.”

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