Was Brittany Maynard Right to End Her Life?

Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Compassion & Choices Board Member
Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, Compassion & Choices Board Member

The Vatican on Tuesday condemned the assisted suicide of American brain cancer sufferer Brittany Maynard at the weekend.

However, Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life, issued a statement in response to the Vatican official’s condemnation of Brittany Maynard for choosing to die with dignity.

“Brittany Maynard was not Catholic,” said Rev. Dr. Ignacio Castuera, a board member of Compassion & Choices. “People of faith are free to follow their own beliefs and consciences. But it is wrong to use the police power of government to impose a set of religious beliefs on people who do not share them. It is not the American way.”


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“Even many Catholics disagree with the Vatican on numerous issues, ranging from birth control – to a woman’s right to choose – to end-of-life choice,” added Rev. Castuera.

For example, Rev. Castuera said the 86-year-old Roman Catholic theologian, Hans Kueng, who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, wrote in his memoirs:

“No person is obligated to suffer the unbearable as something sent from God. People can decide this for themselves and no priest, doctor or judge can stop them.”

Brittany Maynard, 29, died on Saturday, Nov. 1, in her Portland home.

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