Widow calls for 'Death with Dignity' laws in Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Widow calls for 'Death with Dignity' laws in Iowa

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Some in Iowa are calling for changes to a law that prohibits the terminally ill from choosing to end their own lives.

It all started with a YouTube video posted by Compassion Choices, 'The Brittany Maynard Fund.”

“You know, there's nothing worse than watching someone you love go through a long, prolonged, slow, painful death,” said Tami Haught, of Nashua.

Haught has first-hand experience. Nearly 18 years ago, Haught's husband, Roger, contracted HIV/AIDS from a blood transfusion. Over the following months, she watched him die.

“The last morning, it was about one o'clock in the morning that we decided he had to go back to the emergency room,” she said. “He couldn't walk. He couldn't walk down the hallway. He was crawling on his hands and knees. I was seven months pregnant. I couldn't help him, so I had to call my brother-in-law to help him get down the steps to the car. It's unimaginable watching the person you love suffer.”

He was in pain, in and out of the hospital.

“I was always worried he would commit suicide,” Haught said. She also worried he would try to end his life unsuccessfully, causing more damage and pain. That's why the video of Brittany Maynard really struck her.

Maynard, 29, has terminal brain cancer. In the video, she explains how she and her husband have moved to Oregon so that she can end her own life. She plans to use medication prescribed by a doctor under a 'Death with Dignity' law.

“I can't even tell you the amount of relief that it provides me to know that I don't have to die the way that it's been described to me, that my brain tumor would take me on its own,” she said.

Haught also wonders about the end of her own live. She is currently living with AIDS, though she notes that is no longer a death sentence with proper treatment.

Currently, assisting in a suicide is a Class C felony in Iowa. Still, Haught wishes her family could have made that choice.

“That's very hard on the person that is in that shape, but their family members...,” she trailed off. “Too have that option, to die with dignity and safely with medication prescribed by a doctor, so you don't make a mistake – it would give so much humanity and control back to the person.”

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