As the story of Brittany Maynard -- a terminally ill California woman who moved to Oregon to access its death with dignity laws -- has made national headlines, her supporters held a rally in downtown Los Angeles Thursday in hopes of bringing similar end-of-life options to Californians.
During the event, a coalition of community and religious leaders, as well as elected officials, signed an oversized petition pledging their support for death with dignity laws in California.
“We strongly feel that terminally ill, mentally competent adults should have the right to medication they can use to achieve a peaceful death,” life-rights advocacy organization Compassion & Choices stated in a news release about the event.
Maynard was diagnosed with a terminal form of brain cancer not long after being married last year. Then, shortly after her 29th birthday, she was told she had about 6 months to live.
Her family moved from San Francisco to Oregon this year so she would have access to the state’s “Death with Dignity Act,” after doctors told her the tumor would likely cause a slow and painful death.
Her story received national attention after Maynard posted a video to YouTube announcing her plans to end her life and advocating for the expansion of death with dignity laws in the U.S.
Maynard initially chose Nov. 1 — two days after her husband’s birthday — as the day that she would likely end her life using doctor-prescribed medication.
In a more recent video posted on Wednesday, Maynard said the decision to end her life on Nov. 1 was not yet final.
“So if Nov. 2 comes along and I’ve passed, I hope my family is still proud of me and the choices I’ve made. And if Nov. 2 comes along and I’m still alive, I know that we’ll just still be moving forward as a family…out of love for each other, and that this decision will come later,” Maynard said in the video.
Since her diagnosis, Maynard has advocated on behalf of Compassion & Choices for death with dignity laws to be enacted in California and nationwide, according to the website.
KTLA's Tracy Bloom contributed to this report.