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Andrew Solomon on Assisted Suicide, Brittany Maynard and Death with Dignity

Andrew Solomon on Assisted Suicide, Brittany Maynard and Death with Dignity

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The end of a life is inevitably tragic '€” but what if an even bigger tragedy could be avoided by hastening it?

That was the eventuality that 29-year-old Brittany Maynard chose to avoid. On Nov. 1, supported by her family and the millions around the world who learned about her choice to end her life before an aggressive brain tumor could leech it from her slowly and painfully, Maynard took a prescribed dose of lethal medication.

To get that prescription, Maynard moved with her family to Oregon, one of only five states with a '€œDeath with Dignity'€ law that allows for assisted suicide, in which a doctor can provide medication to end the life of a dying patient who'€™s deemed mentally competent. Whether the option should be available nationwide, or banned entirely, will be the subject of an Intelligence Squared U.S. debate taking place Nov. 13, with passionate advocates on both sides.