Brittany Maynard, right-to-die voice, advocates from the grave

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(RNS) Brittany Maynard chose to die Nov. 1, but on what would have been her 30th birthday Wednesday (Nov. 19), her voice in support of the Right to Die movement rang loud.

Maynard, who had an aggressive brain tumor, was the face of Compassion & Choices, the advocacy group campaigning to legalize physician-assisted dying in all 50 states. She still is.

On her birthday, the group released a “call to action” video with passages and narration drawn from prerecorded videos with Maynard (pronounced MayNARD) and other advocates explaining why the right to die by legal prescription is important to them. It is now legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico.

In the video, Maynard concludes: “If there’s one message to come away from everything that I’ve been through, it is no matter what life kind of presents you with, is never be afraid to use your own voice. And even if you are uncertain, even if your voice is shaking, ask the questions you want to ask, speak up for yourself. Advocate.”

It was a prescient thought. Maynard’s decision has been lambasted by conservative religious voices all the way to the Vatican, where an official called the choice “reprehensible.”

Maynard’s mother, Debbie Ziegler, fired back Tuesday (Nov. 18), saying in an open letter on the Compassion & Choices website that “reprehensible” is a word for describing Hitler or pedophiles, not her daughter. She wrote:

“People and institutions that feel they have the right to judge Brittany’s choices may wound me and cause me unspeakable pain but they do not deter me from supporting my daughter’s choice.”

Barbara Coombs Lee, Compassion & Choices co-founder and co-author of Oregon’s assisted-dying legislation, told media Wednesday that Maynard’s birthday was the kickoff date for the group’s campaign because “we would be remiss if we let the day pass without noticing how selfless she was” in speaking out about her decision.

Lee cited a “new army” of volunteers and activists in 12 states, including Pennsylvania state Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat, and Wyoming state Rep. Dan Zwonitzer, a Republican, who have introduced legislation in their states and spoken out on their personal commitment to the issue.

Rozzi spoke of the “gut-wrenching” experience of seeing his father die from the same cancer that would have killed Maynard. He introduced the legislation nine days after Maynard first went public. “This is a human right, not a Republican or a Democrat issue,” he said.

“Advocate” may not be the last word the public will hear spoken by Maynard. Compassion & Choices spokesman Sean Crowley said the latest video, taped in August, will be mined for more quotes that may inspire activists.


  • Fran

    Yes, she is sleeping in death in the grave, no worries there… But she may have the hope of resurrection back to life on earth, to be reunited with family and friends (John 5.27,29; Acts 24:15).

    This would be accomplished by God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) in the near future during its millennial rule.

  • Fran

    Oops… That’s John 5:28, 29.

  • rob

    only one way to heaven and that’s through faith in Jesus as ones only savior from their sins .. and only God and her only know if she had that saving faith .

  • rob

    Daniel 2:44

    does not mention a millennial rule..

    millennial means 1000 the highest number in greek numeral system ..
    WHEN USED AS REVELATION USES it .. its its like saying a zillion.. it means forever.. like 7 Times 70 means forgive for ever .
    the bible does not teach Jesus will only rule for a thousand years ..

    Handle’s Messah has it correct ” and he will rule for ever and ever ..

    no where do we see in scripture God setting up a earthly rule

    all the references are to a brand new earth afterb this one is destroyed or the 3rd heaven above the heaven the birds fly and above the heaven where the planets and solar system’s are .

  • rob

    and the only rest is in Jesus,, a person’s soul either goes to heaven or hell when they die .
    according to scripture .. And hell is not a peaceful place for the soul at all..

  • Fran


    Of course, Daniel 2:44 provides the prophecy that God’s kingdom will put an end to all human governments and rule to time indefinite.

    Revelation 14:1-5 confirms that 144,000 were bought from mankind as first-fruits to God and to the Lamb, Jesus Christ. These compose those who are “sealed” and will rule with Jesus over mankind on earth, and are the “bride of Christ” or born-again Christians. These are the only ones from earth who have a heavenly hope since Pentecost 33 C.E. Jesus referred to this group as the “little flock” (Luke 12:32) since they represent a small group when compared to the human population.

    Revelation 20:4-6 brings out that said 144,000 will rule with Christ for 1,000 years.

    Jesus referred to another group of his followers as his “other sheep” (John 10:16), and this group is the vast multitude of humans who will be enjoying the benefits of that millennial rule. The miracles Jesus performed while on earth are a preview of the miracles that will take place during that rule, including the lame, blind, etc., and even those asleep in death being resurrected back to life, as he did for Lazarus (John 11:1-44).

    In addition, Isaiah 11:1-9 brings out additional blessings of that rule.

    Mankind will be the earthly subjects of God’s kingdom and the benefits of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice will be applied to mankind as well, putting an end to inherited sin and death (John 3:16).

    Psalm 37:10,11 informs us that the wicked will be no more, that the meek ones will inherit the earth and live in an abundance of peace.

    Psalm 37:29 brings out that the righteous will possess the earth and will reside forever on it.

    Jesus, at Matthew 5:5, said at the sermon on the mount that the meek shall inherit the earth.

    Acts 17:31 brings out that God “has set a day in which he purposes to judge the inhabited earth in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed (Jesus), and he has furnished a guarantee to all men in that he resurrected him from the dead.”

    2 Peter 3:13 brings out that there is a new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell. The earth will be cleansed of all terrible conditions, influences and man’s corrupt systems.

    And then, of course, Revelation 21:3-4 confirms that the tent or tabernacle of God will be with mankind, and they will be his people. God will wipe out every tear from our eyes, death, mourning and outcry and pain will be no more. The former things will have passed away.

    There is no place of burning fire of eternal torment for the dead. There is only the common grave, where the dead are sleeping in death (resting in peace), which is a loving provision from God, who is not cruel nor tormenting his creation (Ecclesiastes 3:19, 20; 9:5, 10).

  • I think it’s sad that commenters have chosen to proselytize rather than stay on topic.

    Brittany made a choice about her death and, in Oregon, was able to accomplish her choice. She did not have to suffer longer than she could tolerate. It is my hope that many other states will follow Oregon. No one other than the sufferer should control an individual’s death, particularly not church or state.

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