‘We need hope in hard times, not assisted suicide’

Fri, 22 Jan 2016

A father and ex-US Marine who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer says he is so glad he did not have the option of assisted suicide.

J.J Hanson said that ‘help to die’ would feel like the only choice to people facing “desperate situations”, but that it is a decision “you can’t unmake”.

Hanson’s cancer is now in remission and he is campaigning against assisted suicide around America.

‘Inoperable’

His story contrasts with that of Brittany Maynard, a young woman who opted for assisted suicide in 2014 after being diagnosed with cancer.

Hanson, who has a wife and one son, fell ill in May 2014 and was told he had a type of cancer which he describes as “one of the most aggressive and deadliest forms of cancer, capable of doubling in size in just two weeks”.

Doctors told Hanson and his wife, Kris, that the cancer was inoperable and that he had only four months to live.

Desperate

Writing on a news website, the father-of-one said that if assisted suicide was legal in his state, he could have gone to a doctor “and received a lethal prescription in a matter of days”.

. . . we should be focused on giving hope to the vulnerable and the sick at their greatest time of need, not taking hope away.J.J Hanson

“Without a doubt, people similar to me facing desperate situations will feel like assisted suicide is their only option”, he commented.

However, the couple sought a second and then a third opinion and found a doctor who was willing to operate.

Vulnerable

He then underwent months of difficulty, and said that he wonders if he would still be alive if he had access to legal assisted suicide drugs.

But the ex-Marine said that if he had taken lethal drugs, his family would have suffered: “My wife would be without a husband and my son without a father.”

“In our society we should be focused on giving hope to the vulnerable and the sick at their greatest time of need, not taking hope away”, he wrote.

UK plans rejected

Assisted suicide is only legal in a small number of US states, and in the UK politicians recently rejected a proposal for legalisation decisively.

In September, MPs voted 330 to 118 against Rob Marris’ Bill, after the House of Commons heard concerns about the effects on the vulnerable.