Op-ed: "Death with Dignity" or dignity with death?


When proponents of doctor-assisted suicide were brainstorming a name for their movement, they settled on a title that could not be further from the reality of suicide: “Death with Dignity.”  The movement is decades-old and has won few legislative victories, but proponents recently gained a new impetus to widen their nets by using a terminally-ill young woman as the face of renewed Death with Dignity propaganda.

Brittany Maynard, diagnosed in her twenties with aggressive brain cancer, moved from her home state of California to Oregon in order to use the state’s doctor-assisted suicide provision.  Her decision, although one of over seven hundred that has taken place in that state, gained traction because a suicide advocacy group called Compassion and Choices paid forMaynard’s story to inundate media.  Soon after releasing the first installment of suicide propaganda (this video), Maynard appeared in print and on TV all over the world.

The emotion of Maynard’s story was a thoughtfully-chosen centerpiece to the propaganda.  She was 29-years-old, married to the love of her life, and wanted a family.  She was her mother’s only child.  Her cancer had begun to progress to the point where she would have seizures.  She had to spend her last days in another state in order to commit suicide legally.  Coupled with a massively funded media push, these emotional factors coalesced to create the perfect elicitation of sympathy from Americans at large.

Pundits like Maynard and other suicide advocates truly suffer and are usually motivated by a desire to end their suffering on their own terms.  And, as we have seen, their vulnerability in suffering is the perfect breeding ground for groups like Compassion and Choices to swoop in and present misguided “solutions” to suffering.  Unfortunately, these special interest groups are not the only factions with questionable motives.  Countries wherein governments commoditize healthcare with cut-and-dry pragmatism –including our own – also benefit from stories like Maynard’s.  Bob Conover of LibertyNewsNow reflected on the Brittany Maynard case, revisiting the Clinton Administration to demonstrate the slippery slope that began with “HillaryCare.”

In the early 1990s, Conover explains, HillaryCare “researchers were tasked with determining how much health care an average person will use in the last year of life divided by all the health care that is consumed during their entire life.  The answer was roughly one-half.”  The cold, pragmatic approach of this research suggests that the government will benefit from individuals believed to be nearing the end of life cutting short their medical treatments.  ObamaCare (the successful second coming of HillaryCare) made this dream a reality with the Affordable Care Act’s death panels.  Conover takes the next logical step, concluding that “If these classes of people can be pressured into making the ‘end of life’ decision themselves, there will be no blood on Obamacare’s hands.”

Those of us who fight to defend Life know that death will never have the last word.  We are grateful for the many outspoken, terminally ill patients who have taken a stand against the demeaning tactics of the pro-death camp.  This young mother plans to embrace her Life and die with dignity, love, and the knowledge that her Life was bigger than her illness or economic considerations:


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