A new ad campaign from a Canadian fashion retailer features a terminally ill woman who ended her life by assisted suicide.
“Dying in a hospital is not what’s natural. It’s not what’s soft,” 37-year-old Jennyfer Hatch says at the start of the three-minute video. “In these kinds of moments, you need softness.”
Produced by La Maison Simons, a popular fashion chain better known as Simons, the video has received more than one million views since its release on Oct. 24 — the day after Hatch died.
Hatch sought medical assistance in dying (MAID) after being diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of inherited disorders that affect connective tissues, CBC News reported.
Since Canada legalized assisted suicide in 2016 the number of MAID deaths has increased each year. In 2016 the number of people who chose assisted suicide was 1,018. In 2021 there were 10,064 MAID deaths, making up 3.3% of all deaths in Canada.
The Simons ad, titled “All is beauty,” follows Hatch as she draws in the sand, watches the waves, blows bubbles, and laughs with friends while soft music plays in the background. The words “The most beautiful exit” float across the screen.
“Last breaths are sacred,” Hatch says at one point. “Even though as I seek help to end my life, with all the pain and in these final moments, there is still so much beauty.”
In another, separate video, Peter Simons, chief merchant for the fashion chain, says he felt inspired to tell Hatch’s story after meeting her earlier this year. He insists that it is “not a commercial campaign.”
“It’s more an effort to use our freedom, our voice, and the privilege we have to speak and create every day here in a way that is more about human connection,” he says. “And I think we sincerely believe that companies have a responsibility to participate in communities and to help build the communities that we want to live in tomorrow and leave to our children.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which summarizes Church teaching, explicitly condemns euthanasia.
“Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect. Sick or handicapped persons should be helped to lead lives as normal as possible,” it says. “Whatever its motives and means, direct euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons. It is morally unacceptable.”
It also forbids “an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering,” saying that it “constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator.”
Simons did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.