BY RACHEL DELGUIDICE
CATHOLIC VALUES COLUMNIST
A 29-year-old Portland, OR woman is planning on euthanizing herself on Nov. 1 due to terminal brain cancer.
Originally from San Francisco, Brittany Maynard moved to Oregon so that she can receive a prescription that will allow end her life in the way that she wants. Oregon is one of five states that allows euthanasia in various circumstances.
“I considered passing away in hospice care,” she Maynard said in a CNN column. “But even with palliative medication, I could develop potentially morphine-resistant pain and suffer personality changes and verbal, cognitive and motor loss of virtually any kind.”
Maynard is going beyond choosing death for herself. She is partnering with Compassion & Choices, the largest nonprofit organization “committed to helping everyone have the best death possible.” Brittany’s partnership with Compassion & Choices is in order to “lobby states to adopt legislation that would let you receive a lethal dose of pills if two physicians state that you are terminally ill and neither depressed nor incompetent,” said and NBC NEWS article.
Many groups are hailing this decision by Maynard, such as Compassion & Choices who have already set up “The Brittany Maynard Fund.” This is a fund whose sole purpose is to “expand the death-with-dignity option to all.” However, many others are pleading with Maynard that she would choose life over death.
Kara Tippetts, 36, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, is suffering from terminal breast cancer. Recently, she wrote a moving letter to Maynard that has been shared all over various media platforms.
“Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known,” Tippetts writes. “In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with such tenderness the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.”
This decision by Maynard has reignited the “death with dignity” debate. It is a prime opportunity for faithful Catholics to shape this debate.
Tippets did not end her letter to Maynard without a strong exhortation. “For everyone living knowing death is eminent, that we all will one day face it, this is the question that is most important. Who is this Jesus, and what does He have to do with my dying? Please do not take that pill before you ask yourself that question.”