It’s November 1, the day Brittany Maynard vowed to kill herself. The 29-year-old California woman says she no longer finds life worth living after being diagnosed this past spring with stage 4 glioblastoma, a malignant brain tumor.
Brittany has become the poster girl for “Compassion & Choices, ” a so-called “end-of-life choice” advocacy organization that is fighting to increase the number of stateS with so-called “Death With Dignity” laws on the books.
The model is Oregon, the state to which Brittany relocated this past summer because her home state of California doesn’t allow physician-assisted suicide (at least for now).
Oregon is one of five states – along with Montana, Washington, New Mexico and Vermont – that allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to patients like Brittany, diagnosed with terminal illnesses, longing for a premature death.
And Compassion & Choices has campaigns underway underway in four other states to legalize euthanasia – Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts and, of course, California (so terminally ill residents like Brittany don’t have to go all the way to Oregon to kill themselves).
If the pro-euthanasia movement succeeds in nearly doubling the number of states with “Death With Dignity” laws, it will only be a matter of time before physician-assisted suicide is routine throughout the county – like physician-assisted abortion.
Indeed, just as Planned Parenthood soft-pedals abortion as “reproductive health care,” Compassion & Choices portrays euthanasia as end-of-life “comfort and control.”
And they are shamelessly exploiting terminally ill Brittany, casting her as the face of the euthanasia movement and even setting up The Brittany Maynard Fund not to benefit her family – she and her recently-wed husband are childless – but to raise money to further Compassion & Choices’ political advocacy.
Well, as a Christ follower who this very year was a pallbearer at his 83-year-old father-in-law’s funeral, who had no moral qualms with the family’s decision not to resuscitate him when he drew his last breath, I have nothing but empathy for those who find themselves in similar situations.
But it’s one thing to allow a natural death, and quite another to actively terminate life, as in the case of euthanasia.
Indeed, God’s precious gift of life is cheapened when we send off the terminally ill, like Brittany, to a hasty death. If we accept euthanasia today for those diagnosed with six months to live, do we accept it tomorrow for anyone with a terminal illness – cancer, Alzheimer’s, whatever – no matter how far they may be from death’s door?
Is it hard to imagine Compassion & Choices one day begging the question why the “comfort and choice” of euthanasia should be limited strictly to those with terminal illnesses?
What about those of weakened mind or sinew who feel that their quality of life has so deteriorated that death would be welcome?
And why should euthanasia be restricted to adults only? What about the infant suffering from a fatal illness? Why not put the child out of his or her misery?
Because life is sacred, as the Scripture reminds.
“Do you not know,” the Apostle Paul wrote, “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? You are not our own. You were bought with a price.”