When Brittany Maynard chose to end her life on her terms rather than on cancer's terms, the Vatican wasted little time in labeling the move "reprehensible." Today, Maynard's mother gave it right back, reports ABC News. "My 29-year-old daughter's choice to die gently rather than suffer physical and mental degradation and intense pain does not deserve to be labelled as reprehensible by strangers a continent away who do not know her or the particulars of her situation," writes Debbie Ziegler in a letter at Compassion and Choices. And, she wonders, couldn't the monsignor who issued the criticism have held off just a little while?
"This word was used publicly at a time when my family was tender and freshly wounded. Grieving," writes Ziegler. "It is like kicking us as we struggle to draw a breath." Ziegler, whose daughter had terminal brain cancer and moved to Oregon to take advantage of the state's right-to-die law, uses the letter to encourage "Americans to think for themselves" and to make their end-of-life choices known, notes People. "Brittany stood up to bullies," she writes. "She never thought anyone else had the right to tell her how long she should suffer." (Click to read about one widower who wishes his wife did the same.)