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Dying with Dignity

While the recent election has captured most of America’s attention over the past week, another event occurred this week which has reignited the debate on physician-assisted suicide, or “Death with Dignity” as it is often called. Brittany Maynard, a young woman struggling with terminal brain cancer, chose to end her own life on November 1, at the age of 29.

Prior to her planned death, she unleashed a campaign through Compassion and Choices, to expand “Death with Dignity” laws in the United States. In regard to those who do not agree with her view, she told PEOPLE magazine recently,

“For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me…they try to mix it up with suicide and that’s really unfair, because there’s not a single part of me that wants to die. But I am dying.”

However, Katrina Trinko at the Daily Signal recently wrote a thought-provoking article that urges further consideration of this issue. Compassion and Choices and PEOPLE both neglected to mention two women who begged Brittany not to take her life but to embrace each day she had left. Maggie Karner and Kara Tippetts are both suffering from terminal cancer as well, but they also believe that there is dignity in natural death, no matter how great the suffering. Maggie Karner filmed a special message urging Brittany to reconsider her decision, and Kara Tippets wrote a letter to this effect, even offering to fly out to Oregon to talk with her. Why would these women feel so strongly about this issue? Are these women “evil” because they wanted Brittany to make a different choice? To the contrary, their perspectives are worth considering because Brittany’s choice is also a reflection on our society. As Katrina Trinko writes,

“…if we reject that dignity is inherent in every human being at every moment, what else will we cut off? If a death of terminal cancer, with all the terrible suffering it brings, isn’t dignified, what else will be classified as undignified?”

Take a moment in the middle of this election cycle to read Katrina Trinko’s article, then watch this video and consider the message that these women are sending to our culture about death and dignity.


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