BRITTANY MAYNARD is the latest poster child for the pro-suicide movement. Diagnosed with brain cancer not long ago, Maynard, 29, has decided she will kill herself on November 1 to avoid acute suffering. Compassion and Choices, the former Hemlock Society and a leading advocate of laws legalizing assisted suicide, has produced an artful video of Brittany that has gone viral with more than five million views. I was visiting a relative in a nursing home the other day, surrounded by the sick and disabled, when I heard on a nearby screen this self-absorbed woman being interviewed. The media can’t go wrong with a story like this. It rends emotions and stirs controversy. Organized suicide is great for the news business. I wondered how many people in how many nursing homes and hospitals around the country were watching this willful, painfully superficial woman explain how pointless suffering is.
Maynard believes she is entitled to a life of health and adventure. Deprived of that, she has chosen to plan her own suicide, and, while she is at it, promote the idea for others. Some who also have terminal illnesses, understandably agitated by her story, have begged her to reconsider. Little do they know they are playing the part of useful fools to the propaganda machine at “Compassion and Choices.”
Dave Andrusko writes:
Maynard’s case is what groups like Compassion & Choices live for. A beautiful young woman apparently about to be cut down in the prime of her life. It matters not that such cases—terminal illnesses—are always the opening wedge after which, once the principal is established, the “right” to be “assisted” expands to a whole panoply of reasons none of which are about terminal illnesses.
The principles of Compassion and Choices are perfectly consistent with assisted suicide for those who are not terminally ill but are experiencing unhappiness and chronic illness of some kind. Legal suicide, much farther ahead in Europe, has already gone in that direction in Belgium, and it will likely go in that direction in the United States too.
The ironic thing about Maynard’s case is that the art and science of relieving pain are highly developed and she apparently has family and friends willing to care for her. But she sees no point in living a little longer unless she can have it her way. She is planning to continue to travel and have fun after her death too. Sadly, it seems to never have occurred to Maynard that she may experience intense suffering after her death.