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Living will

Understanding Death with Dignity: The Controversial Movement

Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial movement, was diagnosed earlier this year with a fatal brain tumor and was told by doctors that the cancer would likely kill her in six months.

Maynard made headlines around the world when she announced that she intended to end her own life by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor, when her suffering became too great. Probably the most controversial part of her decision was that ending her own life in this manner is perfectly legal under Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

In 1997, Oregon voters affirmed physician-assisted dying as a legitimate medical practice under specific conditions and with very specific guidelines. These guidelines were designed to protect patients and doctors. The referendum resulted in Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. Oregon, 546 U.S. 243 (2006).

Physician-assisted suicide is one of the most controversial issues faced in the legislative and judicial landscapes today. It has been the topic of numerous attempted legislative acts, controversial court decisions, and heated debates held by people from all walks of life.

But behind the legal arguments and political dealings there are people who are suffering, like Brittany Maynard. Regardless of what your beliefs are with this issue, all of our thoughts and prayers should go out to the family and friends of Brittany Maynard.

By Eric J. Einhart – Guest Blogger

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