“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love.” This was Brittany Maynard's final farewell to the world before taking her own life on Saturday, according to pro-assisted suicide organization Compassion and Choices, which posted her obituary.
Brittany died after ingesting a fatal dose of the barbiturates prescribed by the medical community in Oregon. In that state, suicide is legal under circumstances like Brittany's, and is referred to as a so-called “death with dignity.” This has been the case in Oregon since 1997.
Yesterday, Brittany wrote:
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. 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!
Brittany's own obituary — published by the organization that helped her hasten her death — quite overtly pushes the legal agenda behind Death with Dignity (for which they used Maynard), saying:
Brittany chose to make a well thought out and informed choice to Die With Dignity in the face of such a terrible, painful, and incurable illness. She moved to Oregon to pass away in a little yellow house she picked out in the beautiful city of Portland. Oregon is a place that strives to protect patient rights and autonomy; she wished that her home State of California had also been able to provide terminally ill patients with the same choice. Brittany chose to speak out and advocate for this patient right and option, which she felt is an informed choice that should be made available to all terminally ill patients across our great nation.
Interestingly, the rhetoric behind Brittany's assisted suicide decision closely mirrors that of many abortion advocates. Both groups say that the choice (to commit abortion or assisted suicide) should be left up to those who wish to avail themselves of it (in the case of abortion, pre-born children are left out of this consideration, though). In an oversimplification of the issue, they say that individuals who do not agree needn't make these choices for themselves. In Brittany's words:
The freedom is in the choice. If the option of DWD is unappealing to anyone for any reason, they can simply choose not to avail themselves of it. Those very real protections are already in place.
Brittany actively campaigned for access to assisted suicide, both at home and abroad. While Brittany campaigned for assisted suicide in the UK, however, Baroness Jane Campbell — who is disabled could herself be a candidate for the assisted suicide option — was busy working to ensure that her nation continues to value human life until natural death. She said:
Campaigners for a change in the law on assisted suicide present it as an extension of choice… When any other person seeks to end their life, we do not assist them. We help those with suicidal thoughts look for positives in their lives. I believe chronically ill and disabled people deserve that “right”, to be helped by us all to live their lives.
Knowing that her Pro-Life view is growing less popular where suicide is concerned, Baroness Campbell redoubles her efforts to gain ground: “It is precisely because that is the majority view that we must continue to oppose it.”
With the glorification of Brittany Maynard's suicide as a “brave” and “well-informed” decision by the media, Pro-Lifers feel the impetus to now more than ever to reaffirm the dignity of human life at every stage of development. Greater emphasis is being placed upon end-of-life decisions, thanks to Maynard's story bringing assisted suicide to the fore. Groups like the Family Institute of Connecticut are taking action, hosting a conference against assisted suicide to raise awareness of the other side of the issue.
Assisted suicide cannot be wholly rejected until the Culture of Life has been re-established worldwide. That's a tall order — but one we are up for. We can make a difference by voting Pro-Life, talking candidly about Life issues in one-on-one conversations, and being a witness to the dignity of Life in our own decisions and actions.
Photo via LifeNews.com