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Flickr photo by Marcin Wichary

If you were Brittany Maynard, what would you do?

[todaysdate] cover-768-276x369(RNS) Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old with an aggressive, fatal form of brain cancer, announced she will take her own life on or about Nov. 1 with a legally-obtained prescription.

Her decision, which she announced via People magazine, re-ignited the debate over right-to-die issues and the role faith plays in how we approach the end of life. Some have pleaded with Maynard to reconsider, including anevangelical inspirational speaker and aCatholic seminarian who also has brain cancer. Others have called for respect for Maynard’s decision.

All of this raises the question: If you were Brittany Maynard, what would you do? Would you want the power to orchestrate your own death? Why or why not? Does faith play a role in your answer? In what way?

We want to know what you think. Leave a comment below.

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4 comments

  1. She has now postponed the decision. I would lobby for death with dignity and support it as well. I find horrifying all the people on the Internet insisting that she does not get the right to choose when to die, because only God can decide that. That anyone could possibly think it is okay to tell another human being they *have* to suffer to be okay with God is pretty much why a lot of people feel that kind of religious belief is abusive and also leads to cycles of abuse.

  2. May Brittany Maynard rest in peace! My wife was diagnosed with the same tumor, a glioblastomsa muliforme on Christmas Day 2004. She died April 10th 2005, in less than four months. Our daughter was 17, a junior in high school. Her mother was an RN, a realist, and a Roman Catholic. She knew how she was going to die and all she asked of me was “don’t let me die in some hospital…..I want to die at home!” We were in hospice immediately and since this horrific tumor was in the area of her left temporal lobe and growing aggressively, she only had about a month of being lucid. The following two months were something out of a horror movie. She quickly became psychotic. Prior to hospice and the doctors being able to control the psychosis with drugs, this tumor did it’s damage on our daughter. Her mother said horrible and unspeakable things to her. Things that have scarred her for life. Almost ten years later she still has violent screaming nightmares. Therapy has not helped. When my wife died, it was a sad, angered fillled day, but a relief. A relief that her suffering was over, and so was ours. Never in a million years did I think I’d ever say this but having gone through what we did, I only wish she could have died on her own terms, with dignity. Believe me, there was NOTHING dignified about the end of her life. I loved her so much and know she would have choosen a dignified passing if she could have. It was a horrendous experience that is with me as if it happened yesterday. I fully support Brittany’s right to avoid putting herself and her family through a similar experience. I would choosen the same thing. I was raised in a strict Catholic family but religion has no place in this argument. Maggie Karner, suffering from the same GBM, urged on YouTube that Brittany not go through with her plans. With all due respect to Maggie, she still is obviously lucid and doing o.k. for the moment but make no mistake about it, if her tumor is in an area of the brain that affects perception of reality, her life will be a nightmare before long. I wish her the best and hope her passing is peacfull and painless. I’ve been there and she simply isn’t dealing in reality. No human being should ever have to experience what my loving wife did!

  3. I am not Brittany Maynard and thereby the question makes little sense to me. There is no way to answer it. I am myself, and would be happier if asked what my personal opinion do I have concerning suicide for myself. Since I have a cancer I might be facing immanent death. I will decide then. I have a lot of paperwork to secure and distribute possessions to my children and grand children. There are a few things I might want to do or see, but all that can be done in a short time. No real reason to prolong. I could read and write some, but then, at that time? I do not believe that any doctrine should interfere; that’s letting someone else, like the rulers and principalities, decide for me. I refuse to let that happen. It’s up to me at that time. It’s up to Brittany, provided she provides as responsibly as possible for others that might depend on her. I’d support laws that allow her to make her own informed decision.

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