"My jaw dropped."
This was the instant reaction of a mother suffering from a terminal disease when she was told by her medical insurance company that they could not pay for her chemotherapy but would be willing to shoulder the cost of drugs that would put her to death. The drugs' price: $1.20.
Four years ago, 33-year-old California resident Stephanie Packer was diagnosed with scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes scar tissue to form in her lungs, the New York Post reported.
Her doctor told her then that she only had three years to live. But she has outlived the death sentence as she has been fighting for her life for as long as it takes.
"I just want to spend every last second with my kids," said Packer, a devout Roman Catholic and married mother of four kids, ages 7 through 13.
But as her condition worsens, she's finding little support for her struggle to stay alive.
When her doctors suggested recently that switching to another chemotherapy drug might prolong her life, she immediately consulted her medical insurance company. But it initially refused to pay for the chemotherapy drug, suggesting instead that she'd be better off with taking euthanasia drugs to totally end her suffering.
An irate Packer threatened to publicise her story to the media if the company still refused to pay for her chemotherapy drug. The company eventually relented.
Packer now wants to become the face of the Right to Live movement at a time when "the cultural landscape which she wakes has shifted dramatically of late into one of pro-death," the New York Post wrote.
After her home state of California enacted a law permitting doctor-assisted suicide in June, Packer noted that doctor-assisted death is now widely seen as preferable to painful, prolonged living.
But she vowed to make every last laboured gasp drawn from her oxygen tube before ultimately accepting death.
"I want my kids to see that death is a part of life," she said.
Doctor-assisted suicide of mentally competent adults diagnosed as having six months or less to live is legal in five U.S. states—Oregon, Washington state, Vermont, California and Montana. Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Jersey and New York are also considering such legislation.
Assisted suicide is also legal in Canada, Japan, Colombia and parts of Europe.
In the Netherlands, lawmakers are even considering a proposal to grant the death wish of older people even if they don't suffer from terminal illnesses, but feel they have already "completed life."