Brittany Maynard, 29, was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor earlier this year. She was told she’d have six months to live. This coming Nov. 1, Maynard will end her life through assisted suicide, according to Deseret News National.
Maynard moved to Oregon to die “with dignity,” since much of the medication that would prolong her life “would have destroyed the time I had left,” she wrote in a blog post for CNN.
“I’ve had the medication for weeks,” Maynard wrote in explaining her decision to die. “I am not suicidal. If I were, I would have consumed that medication long ago. I do not want to die. But I am dying. And I want to die on my own terms.”
The American public seems to support Maynard’s choice of death. According to a Huffington Post/YouGov poll, 50 percent of Americans think assisted suicide should be legal if “someone is terminally ill and has a limited amount of time to live.” The poll also found 41 percent find assisted suicide as morally acceptable.
But some writers have refuted Maynard’s position on death. Kara Tippetts, whose brain cancer has metastasized and shortened her life, doesn’t plan on ending her life, she said in a YouTube clip. Maggie Karner, who has a brain tumor similar to Maynard’s, also isn’t choosing to end her life, she explained in a piece for The Federalist. Karner’s and Tippetts’ Christian faith has had a huge impact in both of their decisions.
“As for my cancer journey, circumstances out of my control are not the worst thing that can happen to me,” Karner wrote for The Federalist. “The worst thing would be losing faith, refusing to trust in God’s purpose in my life and trying to grab that control myself.”
Despite the differences, however, Maynard, Tippetts and Karner all share one common thread: They have a unique perspective on how they would like to approach the end of their lives and what they find important. The quotes below from historical and popular figures offer thoughts on what’s important at the end of a person’s life.
“If I were her doctor, I would certainly try to talk (Brittany Maynard) out of it. I would try to tell her what the opportunities are for her to live to the fullest possible extent that she can even when she is dying.” --Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, University of Chicago
“I don’t want her to wake up on the other side of her tombstone only to face a dark, grim existence without life and joy; that is, without God. There’s only one person who has transformed the landscape of life-after-death, and that is Jesus, the One who conquered the grave, opening the path to life eternal. Three grams of phenobarbital in the veins will only provide a temporary reprieve. It is not the answer for the most important passage of her life.” --Joni Eareckson Tada, Christian author
“There is a certain right by which we many deprive a man of life, but none by which we may deprive him of death; this is mere cruelty.” --Friedrich Nietzsche
“I think those who have a terminal illness and are in great pain should have the right to choose to end their lives, and those who help them should be free from prosecution. There must be safeguards that the person concerned genuinely wants to end their life and are not being pressurized into it or have it done without their knowledge and consent as would have been the case with me.” --Stephen Hawking
“Euthanasia and assisted suicide are never acceptable acts of mercy. They always gravely exploit the suffering and desperate, extinguishing life in the name of the ‘quality of life’ itself.” --Pope John Paul II
“In fact, by now, I have reached the conclusion that a person may make a decision to die because the balance of their mind is level, realistic, pragmatic, stoic and sharp. And that is why I dislike the term “assisted suicide” applied to the carefully thought-out and weighed-up process of having one’s life ended by gentle medical means.” --Terry Pratchett, American author
“I’ve never been personally confronted with it, but I know it’s a terribly difficult decision that should never be forced upon anyone. So with appropriate safeguards and informed decision-making, I think it’s an appropriate right to have.” --Hillary Clinton
“I think that the people of Oregon did a service for the country in recognizing that as the population gets older, we’ve got to think about issues of end-of-life care.” --President Barack Obama
“It’s not a doctor’s place to play God at the end of life.” --Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern
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