In a tragic ending to her life, terminally ill cancer patient Brittany Maynard took her life this past weekend by legally taking a lethal dose of drugs to commit suicide. Her decision to kill herself sparked a national debate on assisted suicide and, now, pro-life advocates are concerned euthanasia activists will use her death to promote legalizing assisted suicide in more states.
“I know that I am supposed to keep quiet and simply offer condolences,” pro-life attorney and euthanasia expert Wesley Smith wrote shortly after Maynard’s death “Frankly, I doubt her family would want them from me–given how her illness and death were politicized in the cause of using our great empathy for her to demolish laws against doctor-prescribed death and my implacable opposition to that dark agenda.”
But Smith issued a stern warning for the exploitation of Maynard’s death to come.
“Expect suicide advocates to now use her death to stoke emotions even higher around the assisted suicide debate. But emotionalism is the last approach that should be taken in pondering such a radical, culturally transforming agenda and the threat legalized assisted suicide poses to the most weak and vulnerable among us,” he said.
Smith said he wouldn’t be surprised with the pro-euthanasia group Compassion and Choices videotaped Maynard’s death as a publicity tool.
“That’s the kind of thing assisted suicide/euthanasia promoters have been doing since Jack Kevorkian took his lethal injection of Thomas Youk to 60 Minutes. I hope I am mistaken,” he said.
That euthanasia activists would exploit the death of someone like Maynard is not surprising — given that they were essentially pushing her to kill herself.
Top assisted suicide opponent Rita Marker noted before Maynard died that Compassion and Choices was clearly interested in her taking her own life — and getting people signed up for its mailing list to promote their advocacy and get donations. From, “A Deadly Campaign Masked as a Personal Decision.”
This explosion of coverage was due to a public campaign facilitated by Compassion & Choices (the former Hemlock Society) to legalize Oregon-style doctor-prescribed suicide in every state.
The organization has established the Brittany Maynard Fund to raise money for political campaigns to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide in targeted states across the country.
And, to strengthen the resolve of the young woman for whom the campaign is named, Compassion & Choices has posted “Britanny’s Card” on its website. “Let’s get 1 million people to sign Britanny’s card,” states the message, adding, “Sign the card and let Brittany know you support her bravery in this very tough time.”
But sending a message comes with a catch. In a startling note of hucksterism, the site states that “By signing Brittany’s Card, you agree to receive periodic communication from Compassion & Choices.”