Brittany Maynard’s story is one you’re probably familiar with. At 29 years old, Brittany’s life is coming to an end. Having been diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma multiforme, this inspirational newlywed has become the unofficial spokesperson for the terminally ill wishing to end their lives on their own terms. Dubbed “Die with Dignity” in the states that allow physicians to assist people like Brittany, the practice has of course come under fire from the “my morals are better than yours” right wingers.
In a tl;dr diatribe posted on the Glenn Beck owned Blaze, a writer named Matt Walsh tears down this young woman’s personal choices, essentially calling her a coward for making difficult decisions based on the reality of her situation.
From Walsh’s article:
If you spend any time on Facebook then you’ve probably seen Brittany Maynard’s face pop up on your newsfeed over the last few days. And your Facebook friends sharing links to stories about her have probably included supportive and adoring captions like the one I just saw a couple of minutes ago: “Wow. What an inspiring story! Brittany, you are so brave!!”
Brittany and her Great Dane, Charlie. Photo from www.deathwithdinity.org by Dan Diaz
As a human being I was appalled by the obvious direction the story was headed; contempt for Brittany and the magnitude of the choices she’s been forced to make.
On November 1st of this year, 29-year-old Brittany Maynard is going to kill herself.
With the help of a doctor and a poison pill, she is going to end her life.
Your friends are impressed with a woman’s plan to commit suicide.
Are you alarmed yet?
I’m alarmed that Walsh can take something as complex as an individual’s diagnosis, prognosis, personal choice and legal options and break it down into simple suicide.
After spending 4 or 5 paragraphs feeling sorry for Brittany lest he look like a monster, Walsh moves on to the real issue he wants to discuss.
She is a cancer patient, and she is also a very compelling spokeswoman for suicide. It is the latter point that makes it necessary for those of us who oppose the Culture of Death to speak up and say something here. Our silence could be deadly, literally and figuratively.
She is a human being who is going to die that deserves to dictate the terms by which she meets her end. Those of you who oppose the “culture of death” have no problems voicing your opinions about it. From applauding Texas for saving all those babies you’ll complain about when they need public assistance to the months of legal and so-called “moral” battles over Terry Shiavo, conservatives are always happy to declare that all life is precious.
Unless, of course, you’re on death row or worship the Quran. “Thou shalt not kill” only applies to those conservatives see as innocent.
Sometimes it seems as though Walsh doesn’t quite understand the words he uses:
If there’s going to be any dissenting voices at all — anyone chiming in to mention that perhaps we shouldn’t treat suicide like a legitimate medical solution for cancer — now would be the time to hear from them. So far, the reaction and the reporting on Brittany’s case have been disturbingly one-sided.
Perhaps the lack of what Walsh calls “dissenting voices” has to do with the fact that death is unavoidable in this case. The issue at hand is whether to die at home on your own terms when you’re ready to go or a month later in a hospice bed on a morphine drip. As for one-sided, all you have to do is head to any story or Facebook post about this issue and read the comments. There’s plenty of people telling Brittany she will surely spend eternity in the pits of Hell.
In a moment of total stupidity, Walsh decides to turn Brittany into a poorly formed analogy:
If you are saying that it is dignified and brave for a cancer patient to kill themselves, what are you saying about cancer patients who don’t? What about a woman who fights to the end, survives for as long as she can, and withers away slowly, in agony, until her very last breath escapes her lungs?
That sounds like a wonderful option. I would say that both people made their own choices and died on their own terms. I would say either scenario is acceptable, because choice is the issue here, not life. Life is over at that point.
From Caring To Crazy
Inevitably, Walsh makes his way to where all conservative arguments seem to want to go these days:
The bridge from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia is obvious. I suspect when the time comes that patients are put down whether they wish to be or not, many in our society will hardly object.
There it is. Allowing someone who is going to die to do it on their own terms will inevitably result in the systematic extermination of terminal patients. Yes, you’ve heard this false-equivalency/slippery slope argument before. It won’t be long before all prenatal diagnoses of Fragile X or Down’s Syndrome are added to the automatic abortion list. If you limit magazines to 10 rounds before long guns will be illegal altogether and Nazi Germany will live again right here in America. Helping a hungry family with food assistance will lead to 49% of Americans refusing to work so they can get free iPhones, steak and lobster and government subsidized housing.
We call them the extreme right because they are extremely unrealistic. A group of people hell-bent on protecting our freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution, denying us our freedoms as guaranteed by the Constitution is the definition of hypocrisy.