J.J. Hanson was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer three years ago, and told he probably had about four months of life on this earth left. Many today in his position are sadly opting to hasten their death through assisted suicide.
“The surgeon said my cancer was inoperable and three different doctors told me there was nothing they could do,” Hanson said.
He was diagnosed with glioblastoma, the same type of brain cancer that led Brittany Maynard to choose to end her own life through assisted suicide in a high-profile 2014 California case.
“I would have easily met the criteria for accessing assisted suicide if I lived in a state like Oregon or California, where assisted suicide is legal,” Hanson said.
“In a dark moment, I might have opted for it, but I am fortunate to have a supportive family, and was given the opportunity to pursue cutting edge, experimental treatment instead,” he said.
“Here I am three years later, enjoying the arrival of our second son and living life to the fullest.”
Today, Hanson is president of the Patients Rights Action Fund, actively opposing efforts to legalize assisted suicide around the country. PRAF is supporting a Congressional resolution (House Congressional Resolution 80, proposed by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio) that is against assisted suicide on the grounds that it puts all people at risk.
Assisted Suicide Puts Vulnerable People at Risk of Being Manipulated
“When assisted suicide becomes accepted public policy it threatens the lives of everyone, especially the poor, elderly, mentally ill, disabled, and terminally ill,” he said. “Why? Well, for starters, abuse is unavoidable and doctors are fallible. Assisted suicide policy also injects government insurers and private insurance companies with financial incentives into every single person’s end of life decisions.”
Resolution 80 now has nine co-sponsors. In addition to Hanson’s group, others supporting the proposed legislation against assisted suicide include the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Not Dead Yet, ADAPT, and Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Fund.
The proposed resolution says that assisted suicide “puts everyone, including those most vulnerable, at risk of deadly harm and undermines the integrity of the health care system.” It notes that the purported “safeguards” limit the laws to patients with a prognosis of six months or less to live, but such people “outlive their prognoses every day.”The federal government “should ensure that every person facing the end of their life has access to the best quality and comprehensive medical care,” including palliative or hospice care, says the resolution. It says the federal government “should not adopt or endorse policies or practices that support, encourage, or facilitate suicide or assisted suicide, whether by physicians or others.”
Rep. Wenstrup and the resolution’s sponsors said doctor-assisted suicide “undermines a key safeguard that protects our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, people with disabilities, and people experiencing psychiatric diagnoses. Americans deserve better.”
“When governments support, encourage, or facilitate suicide – whether assisted by physicians or others – we devalue our fellow citizens, our fellow human beings,” the legislators said. “That should not be who we are.”
States with legal assisted suicide have come under criticism for lacking safeguards to protect those who are depressed, suffering from a mental illness, or pressured into requesting assisted suicide. This can include situations within families where someone is about to benefit financially from the end of the person’s life. It also objects that some states require physicians to conceal assisted suicide and to list the cause of death as the underlying condition, leaving concerned onlookers with no way to address the hastened death.
Compared to the cost of continuing to live, the relatively low cost of lethal medication makes it more likely to be recommended to vulnerable people.
photo: Patients Rights Action League
you may also be interested in: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bornagaincatholic/2017/12/suicide-often-spiritual-battle/
author’s note: JJ Hanson passed on December 30th, 2017.
His death was announced Saturday evening by the state Catholic Conference, which worked closely with him to fight passage of a so-called Death with Dignity bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in New York.
“JJ lived his motto: ‘Every day is a gift, and you can’t ever let that go,’” said Kathleen Gallagher, director of pro-life activities for the New York State Catholic Conference. “He and (his wife) Kristen are a true testament to living their faith through adversity, and JJ’s death is a loving example of an authentic ‘death with dignity.’”