Where does Ohio stand? Dying with dignity debated after Brittany Maynard death

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CLEVELAND- She ended her life, the way she wanted.

In Brittany Maynard’s final interview, she said, “I will die upstairs in my bedroom that I share with my husband, with my mother and my husband by my side and pass peacefully with some music that I like in the background."

And that is exactly what happened to Brittany Maynard on the night of November 1.

Doctors told the 29-year-old in April she had an aggressive brain tumor and gave her six months to live.

Maynard did not want her family to watch her dying in pain, so she and her husband moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of that state's death with dignity law; a law that does not exist here in Ohio.

Case Western Reserve University Professor of Law and Bio Ethics Sharona Hoffman said, "A lot of people would like that to be an option if it could save them terrible suffering at the end of their lives.  But there's a lot of political opposition to it."

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in only five states:  Oregon, Washington, Vermont, Montana and New Mexico.

In addition to political opposition, Hoffman said religion also comes into play.

“…a lot of people emphasize the sanctity of life and feel that every moment of life is precious and is a gift from God and therefore you should not shorten it by even a minute," said Hoffman.

Maynard said while she didn't want to die, she wanted to be able to end her life on her own terms.

“…I don't fault her at all for wanting to avoid tremendous suffering at the end of her life.  She certainly waited until she was very, very sick and very near the end."

Professor Hoffman added Maynard’s story may ignite new interest in getting legislation passed in other states. But she said there has not been a big movement to extend assisted suicide to other states, including here in Ohio.

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