Her Mom Just Died Of Brain Cancer, But Here’s Why She Opposed Assisted Suicide

Opinion   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Oct 6, 2015   |   6:26PM   |   Washington, DC

In 2014, Maggie Karner wrote terminally ill cancer patient Brittany Maynard a letter urging her to reconsider her decision to legally commit suicide under Oregon’s assisted suicide provision. Maggie explained that she too was diagnosed with a glioblastoma grade IV brain tumor and given a terminal diagnosis. However, unlike Maynard, she was adamantly against assisted suicide and died from her tumor at a Connecticut hospice center in September.

Now her daughter, Mary Karner, is sharing more of her mother’s story and why she is against physician-assisted suicide. In the Federalist, Mary explains that every moment she had with her mother was precious, even those in the final days of her life.

She wrote:

“My family and I cared for her when she could no longer care for herself. We were her left arm when hers was paralyzed. And when that became too much, we had the distinct privilege of being able to visit her at her hospice facility during the last month of her life. She was not herself, and many times confused, but she could laugh.


Even up until the day before she died. We laughed about seagulls that she thought were drones. We laughed about how much she loved chocolate and McFlurry’s from McDonald’s. We laughed about all the stupid things I did as a kid. And then when she could no longer laugh, we sang to her and we prayed with her.”

Then, Mary explained that her mother left a legacy by opposing assisted suicide and giving true meaning to “death with dignity.”

She said, “My mom said it best in an op-ed in the Hartford Courant: “My brain may be cancerous, but I still have lots to contribute to society as a strong woman, wife and mother while my family can daily learn the value of caring for me in my last days with compassion and dignity.”

Although her mother’s death was not easy, Mary learned first-hand that life at all stages deserves our utmost protection.

She concluded, “I’m here to say that she was right. No matter how hard it was and still is. She was so right. And the greatest honor of my life was to care for my mom in her last days. I hope and pray that her legacy will continue to inspire caring American voters to support those choosing to squeeze life for every drop that it has to give. Support hospice and palliative care programs that give true meaning to “death with dignity.”

As LifeNews previously reported, prior to her death, Maggie wrote in an op-ed that she was deeply troubled by our cultures new acceptance of assisted suicide. She wrote, “I can tell you from personal experience that it [assisted suicide advocacy] is nearly as troubling as the cancer itself. You see, I get strength and comfort from the knowledge that nobody is going to give up on me — medically, psychologically or holistically.”

She added, “Right now, I have the firm support of the state and my fellow citizens in my desire to live — no matter the cost or burden. If that were to change, the tiny knowledge that I might be straining my family, friends, doctors or community resources unnecessarily would be a heavy burden. The constant “option” for suicide would wear at my resolve and I fear, become an unspoken “duty” for me and others.”

Unfortunately, yesterday California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that legalizes assisted suicide, making it the 4th state in the U.S. to accept this dangerous practice, following Oregon, Washington and Vermont. In a letter to the California State Assembly, Gov. Brown explained that he signed the bill because he wouldn’t want to be in pain in his final days.