Dear Doctor Baehr,
I first off want to say that I am dearly sorry for your wife’s condition, and only hope that she would be healed one day to come soon. I also want to thank you for taking time to critic movies so that parents would know what movies would be appropriate for their children. I understand this may not be the easiest thing to do because the world has become so secular, and many don’t know the difference between a G rated and a rated R movie. I for the first time recently saw the movie “Million Dollar Baby,” and understand that you did not appreciate the so called moral of the story. I did not think the movie was fantasying death until I read your article about the movie. In fact it didn’t even come to my attention until I read you review. At first I thought the coach (Clint Eastwood) was being a loving figure for Maggie (Hilary Swank) when he helped by ending her life. Later on as I was thinking about the movie I realized that if he (her coach) really loved her, then he would have had her put up with it a little bit longer. Yes I understand being paralyzed from the neck down would be very difficult to live, having to be on a ventilator would be even harder. And yes going from having nothing, to being on top of the world, then coming down to having nothing again would be the hardest thing I imagine to deal with. But in every bad situation there is always a good outcome. Besides euthanasia has been legalized under one condition, that the patient had to be terminally ill. By all means Maggie was no where near being terminally ill. She was all there mentally; she just had a physical set back.
I also can’t help but lean towards the side that people who lack hope tend to want to be put out of their misery sooner. I believe that it isn’t our role to be playing God and deciding whether it’s okay to euthanize someone. I don’t find it necessary at all; in fact it seems to put too much pressure on medical professionals. Clint Eastwood’s role was nowhere near being a medical professional, which almost makes it seem as though mercy killing is ok. I wish that the movie would have been changed around to where the moral of the story would be that fighting is the best way to end life. Maggie’s whole life was a fight, she fought into the world, and she should have fought out of it as well, rather than giving up so easily. I understand that when you have nothing and gain everything, then lose it all again, it would be difficult but not worth death.
I come from a religious and very rich cultural point of view, as a Christian I believe that all she needed was some hope. That would have pulled her through it. You have to wait for the fog to clear to see how bad the situation really is; otherwise everything is so confusing and unbearable. I also deeply believe that life is scared and no one should tamper with it. Life is a gift given to us, and should not be abused. On the other hand I am a Persian and death is a forbidden topic that nobody speaks about. Especially euthanasia, it is one of those topics that is tried to be covered at all times. It’s almost like karma, if someone causes someone else’s death, then the same may occur to them. They don’t talk about it because many people don’t know what happens after someone dies, they fear of it. What is to come is what is feared.
Although I don’t go along with what many Persians believe, I felt that the ending of the movie was unnecessary. If the coach was her mentor, if he really loved her than he wouldn’t have let her go so easily. I think it was a bit extreme to call it a Neo-Nazi Movie. In his eyes he did her a favor by relieving her of her earthly struggles. And I defiantly don’t feel that the movie was conveying the message that “death is better than disability.” In fact many of the disabled people are the ones who have rocked our world. Such as Nick Vujicic, the Australian man with no hands or legs. He has traveled all around the world tell people the Good News. Or Joni Eareckson Tada, she has flipped the world upside down and inside out. If her family had pulled the plug when she was first injured, then she would not have been able to rock our world. This only goes to show that a little bit of hope can go a long way.
Sincerely,
Melodie