November 1, 2014

Brittany Maynard’s Right to Choose.

Brittany Maynard screenshot

Rest in Peace, Brittany Maynard.

“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.”

“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook. “The world is a beautiful place, travel has been my greatest teacher, my close friends and folks are the greatest givers. I even have a ring of support around my bed as I type … Goodbye world. Spread good energy. Pay it forward!” 


As American citizens, under the 14th amendment to the constitution, our right to life is protected.

Amendment XIV Section 1 states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

But what about an individual’s personal decision to die peacefully on his or her own terms?

While it is not my intention to launch into an interpretation of the law or how state laws within the United States differ on the issue of “Right to Die” I seek merely to bring mindfulness and respect to this issue as a whole.

Brittany Maynard—who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last April and given six months to live—has come forth to discuss candidly her personal decision to choose the extent to which she will live and the time in which she will choose to die (see her first video here).

It is her life. It is her decision.

I can not begin to imagine a decision of this magnitude and how it would affect my loved ones. As a mother, I can not imagine the strength of character needed to set aside my personal feelings and opinion out of respect for my adult daughter’s decision to die on her own terms.

Brittany Maynard is living each day of the rest of her life to the fullest. She is choosing life every bit as much as she is choosing death.

Until I face my own certain mortality, I will reserve judgment, be mindful of the full, rich, healthy life that each of us is blessed with and respect both the undeniable right to life and right to die peacefully, with dignity.



Relephant Reads: 

Death with Dignity 

Death, Dignity & the Question of Rights 

What Death Teaches Us 



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Author: Molly Ruby

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Screenshot from Youtube Video 

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