December 4, 2022

A youthful voice enters the assisted suicide debate

A young terminally ill woman in the US has reignited assisted suicide debate by publishing a video online describing her plans to take her own life.

A young terminally ill woman in the US has reignited assisted suicide debate by publishing a video online describing her plans to take her own life.

29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and given a prognosis of six months to live, describes her dire situation in an emotive You-Tube video that has already received six million hits. Maynard says she will take her own life on November 1st, using barbiturates that she has legally obtained in the US state of Oregon.

In the video she describes in minute detail how she plans to take her life (in her bedroom, surrounded by her family, with her favourite music playing). “I do not want to die”, Maynard says. “But I am dying. And I want to take my life on my own terms”. Maynard has partnered with the pro-assisted suicide group Compassion and Choices to campaign for the legalisation of AS in all US states.

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan says Maynard’s campaign is attracting much support amongst a younger Americans. “She may not be bringing any new arguments into the controversy, but she is bringing a whole new crowd of concerned younger people into the discussion. Those who have followed the elimination of laws against homosexuality and homosexual marriage know what that means.”

In a powerful blog post bioethicist Wesley Smith criticises the media spectacle that has developed around Maynard’s story. “By breathlessly pushing the Maynard story, the media are pushing suicide. This totally violates media guidelines for reporting suicide stories issued by the World Health Organization. ” Pro-euthanasia advocates are exploiting Maynard’s tragedy, Smith argues.

29 year old cancer patient Brittany Maynard campaigns for assisted suicide
Xavier Symons
https://www.bioedge.org/images/2008images/maynardthumb.jpg
Creative commons
assisted suicide
Brittany Maynard
media ethics
Oregon