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'Right-To-Die' Proposal Sparks Tears, Impassioned Testimony at California Capitol

Maynard Family / AP / File

This undated file photo provided by the Maynard family shows Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old terminally ill woman who moved to Oregon and took lethal medication prescribed by a doctor and died on Nov. 2, 2014. She was weeks shy of her 30th birthday.

Maynard Family / AP / File

Terminally-ill Californians would be able to receive prescription medication to hasten their death under the proposal.

Deborah Ziegler is Brittany Maynard's mother. Maynard moved to Oregon to obtain a life-ending prescription when she was dying of brain cancer.

"Brittany was visibly relieved when she got the medication. Her face softened. She was comforted in knowing that she had the means to escape her suffering."

But medical providers say aiding death is not their purpose. Disability advocates fear such a law would make death the cheapest option. Dr. Aaron Kheriaty directs medical ethics at UC Irvine's Medical School.

"The legalization of assisted suicide sends a message that some lives are not worth living. The law is a teacher."

The bill must still pass two more committees in the Senate.


Pauline Bartolone


Pauline Bartolone has been a journalist for more than 15 years, during which she was Capital Public Radio’s healthcare reporter from 2011-2015. Her work has aired frequently on National Public Radio.  Read Full Bio 

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