SACRAMENTO, Calif. - In a video recorded 19 days before Brittany Maynard took life-ending drugs, she tells California lawmakers that no one should have to leave home to legally kill him- or herself under the care of a doctor.
"Unfortunately, California law prevented me from getting the end-of-life option I deserved," she said in the recording released Wednesday, hours ahead of the first state Senate committee hearing on the issue.
The 29-year-old San Francisco Bay area woman had terminal brain cancer and moved with her family to Oregon before killing herself last year.
Her death drew widespread attention and recharged legislative efforts in California and elsewhere to make it legal for terminally ill patients to kill themselves with drugs.
"No one should have to leave their home and community for peace of mind, to escape suffering, and to plan for a gentle death," Maynard said in the video.
The bill being considered in California is expected to face a strong challenge led by medical and religious groups. Opponents see huge consequences for allowing doctors to prescribe fatal drugs.
Among the opponents are other terminally ill patients such as Kara Tippetts, a 38-year-old Colorado mother of four, who wrote an open letter to Maynard in October urging her not to end her life.
Tippetts wrote that suffering can be "the place where true beauty can be known." She died this month of breast cancer.
Advocates for aid-in-dying laws say legislators in at least 17 states have introduced similar measures this year. However, proposals in at least four states have already stalled for the year and many have not yet received a hearing.
Past proposals have foundered in statehouses amid emotionally charged debates and strong opposition.