On the one-year anniversary of the launch of Brittany Maynard’s online video campaign with Compassion & Choices, the nonprofit has released an emotional new video that includes previously unreleased excerpts of interviews with Maynard and pays tribute to the extraordinary impact she had on the right to die movement.
“I decided to share my story, and that wasn’t an easy choice to make, but I decided to share it because I felt like this issue of death with dignity is misunderstood by so many people in our community and culture,” Maynard says in the video, part of recordings she made in August 2014, some of which were used for the original video she released last Oct. 6.
Before Maynard came forward in 2014, there were aid-in-dying bills in four states, Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee says in the video. After she died, lawmakers in 25 jurisdictions, plus the District of Columbia, introduced bills, she says.
“Brittany came on the scene and set in motion a chain of events that passed an aid-in-dying bill through the California legislature less than one year after her death,” Lee says in the video. “We had been trying to do that since 1991.”
“The freedom of death with dignity, it exists because it’s a choice,” she says in the video. “I chose this for myself. I would never sit here and tell anyone else that they should choose it for them.
“But my question is – who thinks that they can sit there and tell me that I don’t deserve this choice?”
On Nov. 1, Maynard, 29, who had terminal brain cancer, ended her own life with medication prescribed to her by her doctor and her loved ones by her side.
On October 5, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation making California the fifth state in the country to legalize aid in dying.
Maynard spoke with him before she died.
“Sometimes when life presents you with opportunities to do something that’s important, it’s really important not to turn your back on that opportunity,” Maynard says in the video, “and so I m just really trying to follow what I believe in my heart and in my mind is right.”