Last month, the issue of assisted suicide and euthanasia was forced into front-page news when Brittany Maynard, a beautiful newlywed diagnosed with brain cancer, announced publicly that she planned to kill herself on November 1, and until then, was campaigning for the pro-suicide organization Compassion & Choices.
People around the world prayed for her and urged her not to end her life, and last week, it appeared that it might have made a difference — she stated that she wasn’t sure if it was the right time anymore, and that she might postpone the date of her suicide, saying that “now doesn’t seem like the right time to die”. Unfortunately, Maynard ultimately decided to stick to her plan, and People Magazine is reporting that she took her own life November 1, as planned.
Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life Saturday at her home in Portland, Oregon. She was 29.
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!”
It is hard to square her statement that now doesn’t seem like the right time to die, only to a short time later still choose to end her life. It makes one wonder how much coercion she may have been receiving, or if she was pressured to stick to her “deadline.”
Whatever the situation, this is a tragedy — and yet the death of this young woman is being lauded as an act of courage. Very few people are willing to call this what it is (suicide), and her decision to give up and end her life is inexplicably being glorified. What does that outlook say to people fighting terminal cancer who don’t choose to give up and kill themselves? That they’re not brave or strong or dignified or inspirational? No, apparently in order to be those things, a person now needs to commit suicide. That’s how far we’ve fallen in this country. That a young woman facing unbelievably difficult circumstances felt she had no other option but to commit suicide makes it even more tragic, and it’s worrisome that Americans apparently want that to be how all Americans in Maynard’s situation feel. A woman has chosen to kill herself, and people are celebrating.
Brittany Maynard’s death is a terrible tragedy. May God have mercy on her soul.