03/25/2015 03:22 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2015

California Assisted Suicide Bill Gets Posthumous Endorsement From Woman Who Inspired It

Brittany Maynard, a terminally ill woman who went public with her decision to have a physician-assisted suicide and reignited efforts to legalize the option, is speaking out in support of California's new "death with dignity" bill in a newly released video.

Recorded by her family before she died and released Wednesday before a Senate Health Committee vote, the video features Maynard, 29, encouraging lawmakers to pass California's End of Life Option Act, which would authorize physicians to practice aid-in-dying on terminally ill patients in her home state. The option will only be available to patients if two physicians have given them a prognosis of six months or less to live, if they submit a written request and make two oral requests to a physician at least 15 days apart, and if they are mentally competent to make decisions regarding their health care.

"As elected officials, you have the power to make this happen," Maynard says in the video. "Please take action. Every terminally ill American deserves the choice to die with dignity. Let the movement begin here, now. Access to this choice lies in your hands."

Maynard, who relocated to Oregon -- one of five states where assisted suicide is legal -- to end her life and avoid suffering a painful death from brain cancer, shared her story in videos viewed tens of millions of times and became the face of efforts to make "death with dignity" more widely available.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, advocates of assisted suicide say lawmakers in at least 17 other states and Washington, D.C., have introduced similar measures in 2015.

Most recently, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) endorsed the California bill in a letter written to one of its authors, state Sen. Lois Wolk (D).

This story has been updated to include excerpts from Brittany Maynard's testimony.



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