Brittany Maynard chose to die on her own terms. The terminally ill woman moved to Oregon where she would have the option to end her own life without the interference of a local government. Maynard and her family got to work on her bucket list as the world watched. When her disease advanced far enough that she felt it would go downhill fast, Maynard took medicine that ended her life.
Maynard’s decision became the subject of much scrutiny and judgment before she died. But once it was done, everyone thought it was over.
Then Monsignor Ignacio Carrasco de Paula spoke out about her death. The monsignor is the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life
“Brittany Maynard’s gesture is in itself to be condemned [other translations read: “reprehensible”], but what happened in her conscience is not for us to know,” he said.
“This woman [took her own life] thinking she would die with dignity,” he said, “but this is the error. Suicide is not a good thing. It is a bad thing because it is saying no to life and to everything it means with respect to our mission in the world and toward those around us.”
Now Maynard’s mother is shooting back at the Vatican over these comments.
She decried “individuals and institutions that have tried to impose their personal belief system on what Brittany and our family feel is a human rights issue.”
“To censure a personal choice as reprehensible because it does not comply with someone else’s belief is immoral. My twenty-nine-year-old daughter’s choice to die gently rather than suffer physical and mental degradation and intense pain does not deserve to be labelled as ‘reprehensible’ by strangers a continent away who do not know her or the particulars of her situation.”
“’Reprehensible’ is a harsh word. It means: ‘very bad; deserving very strong criticism.’ Reprehensible is a word I’ve used as a teacher to describe the actions of Hitler, other political tyrants and the exploitation of children by pedophiles.”
“This word was used publicly at a time when my family was tender and freshly wounded. Grieving. Such strong public criticism from people we do not know, have never met – is more than a slap in the face. It is like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath.”
“People and institutions that feel they have the right to judge Brittany’s choices may wound me and cause me unspeakable pain but they do not deter me from supporting my daughter’s choice. There is currently a great deal of confusion and arrogance standing in the way of Americans going gently into the good night. I urge Americans to think for themselves.”
— People magazine (@peoplemag) November 18, 2014