A debate on Beacon Hill today concerns the rights of terminally ill people. At issue is whether they should be allowed in Massachusetts, as they are right now in five other states, to self-administer medication, prescribed by a doctor, which would bring about their death, when they believe the time is right. 

Last year around this time, a 29-year-old California woman gained national attention with her advocacy for this cause.

Brittany Maynard and her husband moved from their home in California  to Oregon to take advantage of its death with dignity law after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. And she recorded a video explaining why. 

 

"I am dying and I refuse to lose my dignity. I refuse to subject myself to purposeless and prolonged suffering at the hands of an incurable disease. Death with dignity laws authorize the medical practice of aid in dying. They give mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option to request life-ending medication that they can choose to ingest if their dying process becomes unbearable. The freedom of this patient right is choice."

Brittany Maynard died on November first, the day she decided the time was right. And now, her husband, Dan Diaz, is continuing on with her cause. He was among those who testified at today’s State House hearing and he joined the show on Monday to talk about why this cause remains so important to him.