PDX archbishop condemns woman’s assisted suicide plan
Portland Archbishop condemns physician assisted suicide
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Archbishop of Portland says the young woman who made national news after moving to Portland to legally take her own life should not try to control her own death; every moment is precious, even amid suffering.
Brittany Maynard, 29, insisted during an interview with People Magazine that she’s not the least bit suicidal. But after getting diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, Maynard moved to Portland so she can die by lethal medication prescribed by a physician under the Oregon Death With Dignity Act.
She made the decision after learning about the horrible stages of death by glioblastoma and said being able to choose to go with dignity would be “less terrifying.”
Background: Woman moves to Portland to ‘die with dignity’
Maynard said she plans to end her life on November 1, two days after her husband’s Oct. 30 birthday.
In response to the discussion about her upcoming assisted suicide, Archbishop Alexander K. Sample released a statement Monday.
“Death can be a frightening prospect. Coupled with suffering, it can be even more frightening,” he said. “Assisted suicide offers the illusion that we can control death by putting it on our own terms. It suggests that there is freedom in being able to choose death, but it fails to recognize the contradiction. Killing oneself eliminates the freedom enjoyed in earthly life.”
Sample added that every moment of life is precious, and every moment of life worth living.
“Assisted suicide sows confusion about the purpose of life and death. It suggests that a life can lose its purpose and that death has no meaning,” he said, explaining further that he believes it is often during the most difficult times that people come to understand what is most important about life.
Oregon voters approved the law in 1994 but it was halted by an injunction lifted in October, 1997. A month later, voters soundly rejected a measure which would have repealed the act. Since the implementation of the Oregon Death with Dignity law, 1,173 people have died using the act.
The Oregon Health Authority reports that 122 people were prescribed the end of life drugs in 2013 and 71 used them to die. Others mostly died of natural causes. Some are prescribed drugs that are not used in the same calendar year.