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Brittany Maynard: The Vultures Circle

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I had initially planned to refrain from commenting on the recent media frenzy surrounding the case of Brittany Maynard. Maynard, a 29-year-old woman diagnosed with brain cancer, has publicly declared her intention to end her life on November 1.
My initial decision not to comment on Maynard’s case was based on my personal stance of not being critical of her actions. It is not within my purview to determine the limits of human endurance. Moreover, Maynard is a living, very ill woman, and her situation deserves our utmost respect and compassion. I am not inclined to add to her burden. However, I did receive numerous media requests to comment on the planned suicide. The requests included a three-minute segment on television and an interview with Kim Kardashian. I respectfully declined.

Consequently, I reconsidered my position. I felt compelled to express my displeasure with those who have exploited the tragedy for their own gain.

First and foremost, those who advocate for assisted suicide must be held accountable.

  • Those at the vanguard of the assisted suicide movement are perpetually on the lookout for cases that will advance their agenda. They believe that Maynard represents an attractive case due to her youth, beauty, and the tragedy of her condition.
  • It is evident that the movement has orchestrated a costly and meticulously planned media campaign with the intention of leveraging her planned suicide to facilitate the legalization of physician-assisted death. The dissemination of the story has been widespread and multifaceted, a phenomenon that is unlikely to occur by chance.
  • Moreover, and most egregiously, by validating and extolling her self-termination, assisted suicide advocates make it more difficult for her to reconsider her decision.

In the case of Nancy Crick in Australia, assisted suicide advocates and the ghoul Philip Nitschke were present when she planned to kill herself. However, when Crick expressed doubts, they withdrew from her. This conveyed a clear message: if you kill yourself, we are your friends. If you do not, we do not care about you. When she finally did the deed, she had assisted suicide advocates in the room with her. When she ingested the poison, the assembled group of individuals applauded.

The media’s role in this situation is particularly troubling.

  • Media know they are being played. But, if it bleeds, it leads!
  • The media’s breathless coverage of the Maynard story is contributing to an increase in suicides. This is in violation of the World Health Organization’s guidelines for reporting suicide stories.
  • The question arises as to why this case has attracted such significant media attention. In contrast to the hundreds of assisted suicides that have occurred, there has been a notable absence of media coverage. Furthermore, instances that cast doubt on the legitimacy of legalised prescribed suicide are consistently overlooked.
  • A significant number of the narratives appear to portray the protagonist as having no alternative but to take her own life. There is a notable absence of any reference to the potential benefits of hospice care and other forms of palliative support in alleviating her suffering.
  • By portraying suicide as a form of death with dignity and by devoting a significant amount of coverage to her death, the media convey the message that suicide is a viable option for others as well.
  • A considerable number of media outlets espouse the view that assisted suicide should be permitted and are utilising the case of Maynard as a means of advancing their ideological agenda.
  • This is analogous to 60 Minutes broadcasting the video of Jack Kevorkian’s murder of Thomas Youk, with Mike Wallace repeatedly inquiring, “Is he dead yet? Is he dead yet?” Alternatively, the BBC has broadcast footage of a death at one of the Swiss suicide clinics.

Should anyone wish to discuss the aforementioned matter, I would be delighted to do so. However, I must decline to engage with Maynard on the matter. The entire affair is deeply distasteful to me.


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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