A Christian author and blogger with terminal cancer who tried to convince Brittany Maynard to reconsider her November decision to die through doctor-assisted suicide is facing her own death. [Update on 3/22: Tippetts has died]
Maynard made headlines as the 29-year-old who chose to die on Nov. 1 by taking a legal lethal prescription as she faced an aggressive cancerous brain tumor.
Kara Tippetts, a Colorado Springs wife of a pastor and 38-year-old mother of four who was diagnosed two years ago with stage four breast cancer, has become the poster face of an opposite view. Her book publicist confirmed on Thursday that her family believes she is close to death.
Tippetts’s open letter to Maynard on Ann Voskamp’s popular blog went viral in many Christian circles. “Dear heart, we simply disagree,” Tippetts wrote. “Suffering is not the absence of goodness, it is not the absence of beauty, but perhaps it can be the place where true beauty can be known. In your choosing your own death, you are robbing those that love you with the such tenderness, the opportunity of meeting you in your last moments and extending you love in your last breaths.”
Tippetts argued in her post that hastening death is not what God intended.
I get to partner with my doctor in my dying, and it’s going to be a beautiful and painful journey for us all.
But, hear me — it is not a mistake —
beauty will meet us in that last breath.
Her story was picked up by Ross Douthat, who wrote about the debate represented by Maynard and Tippetts.
“The future of the assisted suicide debate may depend, in part, on whether Tippetts’s case for the worth of what can seem like pointless suffering can be made either without her theological perspective, or by a liberalism more open to metaphysical arguments than the left is today,” Douthat wrote.
Tippetts was admitted into hospice care in December. On Friday, her husband Jason Tippetts wrote about his wife’s final days.
“I have an us that cannot be lost,” Jason Tippetts wrote. “And I still get small moments where we are us. But I grieve as I watch her fade. The peace that is in our house is amazing, peace in the midst of tears, peace in the midst of impending loss, but it is peace.”
Jay Lyons, a producer who is a friend of the Tippetts, raised more than $15,000 of his goal of $13,750 to create a documentary.
Before her death in November, Maynard became an advocate for laws for legal protections for terminally ill patients who want to die with medical assistance. Voters in Oregon and Washington passed ballot measures allowing the practice, while legislators in Vermont and judges in Montana and New Mexico have authorized it.
“Goodbye to all my dear friends and family that I love. Today is the day I have chosen to pass away with dignity in the face of my terminal illness, this terrible brain cancer that has taken so much from me … but would have taken so much more,” she wrote on Facebook before her death.
NPR host Diane Rehm has emerged as a key force in the end-of-life debates. Americans are divided on the role of medicine in the issue, according to recent Pew Research surveys. When asked about end-of-life decisions for other people, two-thirds of Americans say there are at least some situations in which a patient should be allowed to die, while nearly a third say that medical professionals always should do everything possible to save a patient’s life. Of those polled, 47 percent approved and 49 percent disapproved of laws that would allow a physician to prescribe lethal doses of drugs for a terminally ill patient.
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