Three years ago, J.J. Hanson received a diagnosis that no one wants to hear. He had terminal brain cancer, and doctors said his time was short – he likely had about four months to live.
“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 take her life through assisted suicide in a high-profile case in California in 2014.
“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, which opposes efforts to legalize assisted suicide. The group is currently backing a Congressional resolution objecting to assisted suicide on the grounds that it puts all people at risk.
“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.”
House Congressional Resolution 80, proposed by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio) on Sept. 26, has nine co-sponsors from both parties. Besides Hanson’s group, other supporting groups includes the National Council on Independent Living, the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund, Not Dead Yet, ADAPT, and Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Fund.
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.”
Full story at Catholic News Agency.