Editorial: Death With Dignity?


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it was hard to avoid the story of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old Portland woman who ended her own life under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity Act.”

Maynard quickly became the face of the hot-button topic when her stage four diagnosis of glioblastoma (a type of brain tumor) became public and announced that she was an advocate for the right to die.

This begs the question: Should more states follow suit and initiate the “Death with Dignity Act”?

Obviously, extensive research would need to be conducted to verify that the patient was indeed terminal, but opening the floor to incurable diseases that destroy the mind and body quickly and painfully would be somewhere to start.

If we can euthanize pets to end their suffering, why can’t humans have that same option? It is not murder by a doctor or suicide by the patient.

Put yourself in her shoes: If you knew you had six months or less to live, and bouts of misery and suffering were sure to consume the person you once were, wouldn’t you want to have control over your own life?

Maynard did not want to die. She viewed her decision as a way to end her life on her terms. She fulfilled her bucket list and said her goodbyes to family and friends before taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor, to end her suffering. In the end, she did not let cancer win.

If we can pull the plug on life support, why are we pulling the plug on the right to die?

There is always a chance for a miracle. But for those who don’t believe one is coming, what option do they have?

Sometimes, it’s better to decide your own fate instead of waiting for God.

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