PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Those who have experienced the painful deaths of loved ones understand why Brittany Maynard wants to end her life on her own terms in Oregon, as she recounts in her own video about the pills that will take her young life before the brain cancer does.
“I know that it’s there when I need it,” said Maynard. “I plan to be surrounded by my immediate family which is my husband, my mother, and my stepfather, and my best friend who is also a physician, and not much more people.”
“And I will die upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband — with my husband and my mother by my side and pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background,” she added.
But this is illegal in Pennsylvania, and those who provided the life-ending pills would be accomplices to murder.
State Sens. Daylin Leach and Jim Ferlo have introduced Senate Bill 1032, the Death with Dignity Act, to change that.
Among other protections, the bill would require two, not one, doctors to certify that the patient had a terminal disease, less than six months to live, no hope of recovery, and told of the alternative option of pain control and hospice care.
While certainly some people would support death with dignity, or assisted suicide for those with terminal illness, many others including elected officials are very concerned about the moral implications of that.
“Forty thousand suicide deaths in this country last year — 40,000 — a million suicide attempts,” U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist, told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
“We have a serious problem with mental illness in this country. My focus is on that. Those with terminal illness — a lot can be done with palliative care and pain management, etc. I hope for the best for them along those lines, but I don’t personally support suicide,” said Murphy.
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