Brittany Maynard is facing criticism from all sides in her right to die debate.
The 29-year-old, suffering from an aggressive form of terminal brain cancer, made waves when she publicly announced her plans to take medication to end her life. A video Maynard made explaining her her decision garnered close to 9 million views on YouTube and proponents of the “death with dignity” movement held her up as an example of the practice in action.
Maynard herself has addressed the criticism.
“When people criticize me for not waiting longer, or, you know, whatever they’ve decided is best for me, it hurts,” she says, “because really, I risk it every day, every day that I wake up.”
Maynard added that she fears what could happen if she waits too long and allows the seizures she suffers daily to rob her of the ability to take the end-of-life medication.
“The worst thing that could happen to me is that I wait too long because I’m trying to seize each day,” she says, “but I somehow have my autonomy taken away from me by my disease because of the nature of my cancer.”
Much of the criticism is coming from religious leaders, who say that Maynard’s decision is not honoring the sanctity of life.
“We believe she’s made in the image of God, we believe that God determined when she would be born and God should determine when she’s going to die,” Dave Watson, pastor of Calvary Chapel of Staten Island, told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin earlier this month. “I certainly sympathize. And when I read the story, I prayed for the woman and her family. I can’t imagine the agony for a decision like this. But I don’t think that necessarily we’re saying the right things about death.”
Other have criticized Brittany Maynard for taking what would otherwise be an intensely private family event and shared it with the nation, allowing herself to become a flashpoint for debate. Those critics were again vocal when Maynard announced this week that she may not be ending her life this weekend, as she originally planned.