Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman terminally ill with brain cancer, moved from Northern California to Portland, Ore., to take advantage of that state’s law allowing people the option of “death with dignity” — physician-assisted suicide. On Nov. 1, surrounded by her loved ones, she took the final step to end her life. Only five states have some form of euthanasia laws. Should that issue be on more states’ legislative agendas next year? How do you feel about the notion of an individual’s “right to die”?
We support and encourage the “right to die” for any mentally competent individual. Many lives are extended by medical intervention when such action is unwanted and not beneficial.
— James and Claudene Parsley,
Faced with a terminal illness, who am I to tell someone they must continue to live in pain until the very end?
Quality of life is important, not just life itself, and that choice should be that person’s to make.
We yell about individual rights and freedoms. Well, the right to die is one of them.
— J.W. Sullivan, Arlington
Being a Christian, I don’t believe suicide (whether assisted or otherwise) to be an answer to one’s problems.
As it is with abortion and murder, suicide marks an end to what God created, which is life.
That said, the death of Brittany Maynard was a waste, as she could have used whatever time she had left, in spite of her illness, to help other people.
Instead, Maynard left this world in a way that could best be described as selfish.
— Anthony Chilson Jr., Princeton
Assisted-suicide should be thoroughly investigated by family and friends of the person wishing that option to end their life. Especially in the case off brain cancer where cognitive thinking may disappear.
It should be our right to choose.
So many members of my family have died with the horrors of cancer. If it weren’t for hospice coming in to help them suffer less, I can’t imagine how painful their deaths might have been.
— Rebecca Schriewer, Bedford
Anyone with a terminal condition should have the right to die on their own terms.
In rare moments of lucidity, my physically incapacitated 85-year old mother, who suffered from dementia, would beg me to let her die.
No one should have to go through what she went through. Dying is not an easy business. She suffered, and I suffered along with her. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
There is something to be said for quality of life over quantity. Brittany Maynard understood that. It’s too bad so few people do.
— Diane M. Gatzke, Arlington
A lot of people feel that what Brittany Maynard did was wrong, but I would ask: “What’s it to you?”
People are free to believe whatever they want to, but how arrogant to think anyone has a right to tell her, or me, or anyone else what to believe.
— John F. Bigony, Arlington
A recent article mentioned Jordan Elizabeth Harris, 22, who committed suicide. Her parents started a foundation to fight suicide.
We also read about Brittany Maynard.
Is there really dignity in suicide? Is there not true dignity in a natural death?
Does a terminal illness give us the right to decide when to die or do we trust in God to decide that fateful day?
I watched a relative die slowly over many months who suffered from dementia. I helplessly watched her struggle to live and saw a great strength in her weakness.
There is a peace that comes with dying a natural death.
— Deborah Fleischmann, Fort Worth
Pushing a state by state “right to die” agenda immediately invites political calculation and polarized electorates around a very personal and difficult decision. Not a good idea.
A “right to die” should be left to percolate in the states where voter initiatives and legislative actions have set strict ground rules for physician-assisted suicide. Other states should look to those five before embarking on their own legislation.
Given the lengths modern medicine can go to keep patients alive and how much information those patients can learn about the courses of their terminal illnesses, it is only reasonable some would say, “Enough: I want to die with dignity as who I am.”
— Sarah Dolbier, Fort Worth
In December 2011, my 43- year-old daughter, an MD, PHD, was diagnosed with cancer.
Her physician said her diagnosis could go very quickly.
A woman of great faith, she went to the Bible, emphasizing “prayer of faith.” She committed many healing scriptures to memory.
Today she is cancer-free from the neck down. Her brain, starting with 15-20 measurable lesions, now measures one lesion, which is shrinking!
We live with advanced medical knowledge, yet we cannot go beyond our knowledge. God knows everything. Only He should determine our days.
— Judy Strickland, Fort Worth