On November 1, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard decided to end her life under Oregon’s death-with-dignity law with a doctor-prescribed lethal medication. Maynard had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer earlier this year and was told she only had a few months left to live. In the final weeks of her life, Maynard made her mark by becoming an advocate for the right-to-die movement and paving the way for others that wished to end their lives on their own terms.
However, the controversial conversation that surrounded Maynard’s decision is far from over. Recently, top Vatican official Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula has come forward to criticize and condemn Maynard’s decision, claiming that there is “no dignity” in assisted suicide.
Carrasco de Paula, who is head of the Pontifical Academy for Life and handles ethical matters for the Catholic Church, said:
“We don’t judge people, but the gesture in itself is to be condemned. Assisted suicide is an absurdity. Dignity is something different than putting an end to your own life.
Killing yourself is not a good thing; it’s a bad thing because it says no to life and to all that means in relation to our duty in the world and to those close to us.” [source]
Under the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church, euthanasia and assisted suicide is strongly opposed and life should only end by natural death. Carrasco de Paula said:
“Brittany Maynard’s act is in itself reprehensible, but what happened in the consciousness we do not know.”
However, the advocacy group Compassion & Choices tells a different story. This group had worked alongside Maynard at the end of her life, and said she died “surrounded by close family and loved ones.” Barbara Coombs Lee, president of Compassion & Choices, wrote on the organization’s website:
“Brittany has died, but her love of life and nature, her passion and spirit endure. We will work to carry on her legacy of bringing end-of-life choice to all Americans.”
Brittany’s own final goodbye was filled with hope and strength. In a Facebook post, she wrote:
“Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness… the world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers… goodbye world.”