(By Matt Valliere / Star-Ledger) – My dear friend, the late J.J. Hanson – Marine combat veteran, civil servant under two Democratic governors, husband, father, and brain cancer victim – was adamantly and unshakably opposed to the legalization of doctor-assisted suicide. In New Jersey, the so-called “Aid in Dying” bill A1504 is awaiting vote.
The author of a recent op-ed wrote that J.J. understood why a dying woman would request assisted suicide, but it would be wrong for anyone to think that J.J. would approve of this dangerous public policy.
J.J. never divulged to me what was exchanged in the limited contact he had with the author of that op-ed, because the two promised each other to keep it between them, and J.J. kept his promises. J.J. was a man of his word, and, on the issue of assisted suicide public policy, his words for the last three years of his life were to defend vulnerable patients, like himself, who are put at risk of deadly harm through the mistakes, abuse, and coercion that happen when doctors licitly prescribe suicide. J.J.’s widow, Kristen Hanson, also woman of her word, is now fulfilling a promise she made to her husband on his deathbed to continue fighting the legalization of assisted suicide.
J.J. outlived a grim four-month prognosis. A couple years past his prognosis, he told me with a tremor in his voice, “Five months in, I was depressed. At that time, I needed counseling; I needed help, not suicide pills. If I had had those pills on my nightstand then, I don’t know if I’d be here with you now.” You see, once the prescription of 100 pills leaves the pharmacy, there is zero oversight. CONTINUE