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The Brittany Maynard Dilemma: Culture of Life vs Suicidal Euthanasia

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By Chaplain Adele M. Gill, RN, BSN, CC
10/14/2014 (4 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Pro-life Christian to pray for all life

As you probably have read on the internet or in newspapers, or seen on TV news, a 29 year old woman named Brittany Maynard has decided to end her life. Where is the outrage over her decision to commit suicidal euthanasia on November 1st, which happens to be ALL SAINTS DAY? This upcoming 'event' has garnered much media attention, and an onslaught of people calling her 'inspiring,' 'brave' and 'courageous.' The reason? She has an aggressive brain tumor and has been told she does not have long to live...

All things are possible through prayer.

All things are possible through prayer.


align="center" style="text-align: left;">LOS ANGELES, CA - The fact that Brittany Maynard does not want to live through her last days of living with an aggressive brain tumor does not come as a big surprise, as what she is facing is difficult and scary, at best. Emotionally speaking, who would want to live through what is ahead for her? As M. Scott Peck says in his book, "The Road Most Travelled," 'Life is difficult.'

Is Brittany brave to face brain cancer, absolutely! It takes a lot of inner strength to accept and live with a tough, life and death diagnosis. But I struggle to even think of this woman's plan to end her own life prematurely, as courageous. Because it is not. Rather it is anything but. In fact, in my mind, it is a self-destructive act of selfish cowardice to end your own life before God's perfect timing. It also defies the 10 Commandments. The Culture of Life embraces the fact that God is in control of when life begins and ends, not man. That is just part of the story; there is so much more to this story that needs to be said as we explore the Culture of Life.

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Among other valid concerns that this decision brings to the foreground, will her doctor, mother and husband be held culpable for her death under state and federal law? Is it really fair to have them be accessories to suicidal euthanasia? Just one more reason to question her life ending plan in the name of the Culture of Life. Actually, like any runner in a race, the Bible encourages us to "Be not afraid," to press in, and press on and see life through, especially when times get tough. The Bible is also clear that we are not alone on this journey; that Jesus is with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to strive to do the best we can with whatever we are presented with in this life. I know this in a very personal way.

For 31 ˝  years, I have lived with a progressive neuromuscular disease that causes respiratory muscle weakness, garbled speech, swallowing and mobility issues, requires a Bipap respirator 15 hours per day, and a walker, with frequent trips to the hospital for IV therapy. I have faced the possibility of early death from infirmity many times since I was 25 years of age. It hasn't always been easy, but, by the grace of God, my Catholic faith propels me forward with the knowledge that Jesus is my strength, and with Him, all things are possible! Sure, I've had to adapt and make lots of changes in my life plan. Yes, I have shed my share of tears, but life goes on as it will. It is what it is, and avoidance~ even to the point of suicide~ is not an option in the Culture of Life.

It's how we deal with our challenges that makes all the difference in the World. I wonder if Brittany knows how precious she is in the eyes of God; that she is loved by God beyond measure,  And I wonder if she realizes that God has a special plan for her life right to the end hours, if the impact would change her mind. Though seemingly bright and clearly not despondent, I suspect that Brittany may be an Agnostic or an Atheist and extremely fearful of the vulnerability she faces in her last days, to make such a life-ending choice. Avoidance of suffering is not the answer. It is important to pray and embrace that which challenges us and strive to rise above it.even to natural death at an early age.

I also find it interesting that she is so public about this very private life and death decision she has made. She even appears to have some paid advertisements about her suicidal plan. But as the media promotes her in her decision to be in control of exactly when she dies, cheering her along and widely publicizing her story, is it possible she is, in actuality, hoping someone will save her from herself and her own destructive plan to end her life on November 1st? I think it may be so.

Of grave concern here is how many others will follow Brittany's lead, if she is successful in her suicidal euthanasia, thereby promoting the Culture of Death. In a way, this is like the Terry Schiavo case in reverse. Yet, the intense, coliseum atmosphere surrounding her impending planned death is astonishing on many levels. I just pray she will see the light of Jesus, and change her plan before other vulnerable, suffering souls follow her and 'assimilate' such a startling plan.

In closing, I encourage every Pro-life Christian to pray for Brittany, and, if you feel so led, to contact her personally. A public figure now, she is very easily accessible via Facebook. I know this because I recently contacted her directly on Facebook. Who knows, she may just change her mind and heart as she realizes that her last days, in the eyes of God and others, are vitally important, and that she is in a position to positively help many others who struggle with suffering due to disability and/or infirmity choose life by her living example.

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