The Corner

Culture

Maggie Karner Dies Naturally of Brain Cancer

I can hear some readers saying, “Who?”

Maggie Karner had the same brain cancer as Brittany Maynard, who became an A-list international celebrity for announcing she would commit assisted suicide.

In contrast to Maynard, Karner made a bit of mild news–mostly, but not exclusively, in conservative media–for resisting the euthanasia agenda. She died naturally on September 25 from her disease. So far, I have not seen her demise making any newscasts or internet headlines.

I met Karner and interacted with her in my work opposing assisted suicide. She said–and I have spoken to many other terminally ill and disabled people who agree–that the assisted suicide movement made it more difficult for her to live with cancer. Here’s how she put it in the Hartford Courant in opposing an assisted suicide legalization proposal:

The out-of-state proponents of the bill regarding physician-assisted suicide suggest having the ability to end your life legally is comforting. But I can tell you from personal experience that it is nearly as troubling as the cancer itself.

You see, I get strength and comfort from the knowledge that nobody is going to give up on me — medically, psychologically or holistically. Right now, I have the firm support of the state and my fellow citizens in my desire to live — no matter the cost or burden.

If that were to change, the tiny knowledge that I might be straining my family, friends, doctors or community resources unnecessarily would be a heavy burden. The constant “option” for suicide would wear at my resolve and I fear, become an unspoken “duty” for me and others.

Sadly, and tellingly, the Maggie Karners of the world, who strive courageously against terminal disease to the end, are mostly ignored in the media’s great rush to boost assisted suicide.

(So too, the late Lauren Hill, another brain cancer struggler who opposed assisted suicide to muted coverage outside of the sports media.)

Karner’s message was and is important.  Her life–and manner of death–mattered. Dying naturally is not undignified!

Karner’s Lutheran faith was integral to the manner in which she lived her life. It helped her tremendously in the struggle. Memory Eternal!

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