America’s leading assisted suicide lobby group, Compassion & Choices, has scored another public relations coup with the release of a third Brittany Maynard video.

Brittany, you will remember, is the 29-year-old woman from California who chose assisted suicide in Oregon last year rather than suffer a slow decline because of a brain tumour.

She made two videos which went viral on YouTube – no wonder, as they were directed by a New York public relations firm which put together a multi-platform media campaign for C&C called “Twenty Nine Years”. A professional story-telling consultant was employed to create the video. The celebrity magazines, the glossy women’s magazines, major newspapers and TV networks were provided with photos and interviews. Brittany became a media sensation.

And then, on November 1, she committed suicide.

But Compassion & Choices is not done with its young recruit. Last week C&C dragged Brittany back from the grave. Nineteen days before her death, C&C got Brittany to record a video demanding that California legislators endorse assisted suicide.

“The decision about how I end my dying process should be up to me and my family under a doctor’s care. How dare the government make decisions or limit options for terminally ill people like me…

“Making aid in dying a crime creates undue hardships and suffering for many people who are terminally ill and suffering tremendously. It limits our options and deprives us of our ability to control how much pain and agony we endure before we pass.”

After watching this poignant plea last week, it’s no wonder that California’s Senate Health Committee approved an End-of-Life Option Act (SB 128) by a vote of 6 to 2. The bill will now be debated by the state Senate. 

Does anyone else find this a little bit creepy? The poor woman was being ventriloquized by C&C and exploited as a pin-up girl for assisted suicide. Her final words added nothing to the substance of the debate except the tragedy of her premature death. But her video got the lion’s share of the publicity, while opposing voices were muted.

For instance, Marilyn Golden, senior policy analyst for the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, had some thought-provoking things to say. She told the senators that there would be strong financial incentives for people to pressure disabled and depressed people into ending their lives. “It’s a deadly mix to combine our broken, profit-driven healthcare system and assisted suicide, which would instantly become the cheapest treatment.”

Compassion & Choices is trying to sucker the American public. Most of its sympathisers are in their 70s and are in a very different situation from Brittany. Isn’t it a bit sexist and ageist to exploit the late woman’s youth and charm? If Brittany were 59 instead of 29, would she have become a YouTube sensation? I think not. In fact, Maggie Karner, a Connecticut woman, has exactly the same disease and has no intention of asking for assisted suicide. Take a look at her video and think about her arguments. They make a lot more sense than Brittany’s.

Michael Cook is editor of MercatorNet. 

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet.