He was a U.S. Marine. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a warrior in the cause of celebrating the dignity of fighting to live. J.J. Hanson passed away succumbing to the terminal brain cancer that focused his final years in a fight to survive and convince others of the dignity of fighting for life and the dangers of so called "Right-to-Die" legislation. I first learned of his death this morning speaking with my friend Marie Tasy from New Jersey Right to life. J.J. joined me on-air last year as he led the way fighting against the NJ legislative effort to legalize assisted suicide:

When I asked Hanson about his strong position on the words “dying with dignity” and the death with dignity bill, he said that he would tell the NJ legislators voting on this bill “not so fast.” Hanson said “I was told you don’t have an option. You can die dignified if you commit suicide. Whoa, wait a second. The whole terminology is flipping on its head. If you give up and you don’t fight, somehow you’re compassionate and dignified. But if you want to fight and you want to live, you lack compassion and dignity. To me it just doesn’t make sense. It’s kind of a reflection of where our society is.”

Our state and many others face high numbers of suicides among young people; out of control drug abuse with death rates three times the national average plaguing families and law enforcement. Amidst this backdrop, the NJ legislature is pushing a bill to allow for terminal patients to kill themselves.

The opposition is strong among disabled advocacy groups and those that believe the choice to die instead of overcoming adversity based on pain and quality of life is a dangerous path to travel.

We know that for many people, treatment and pain mitigation is possible. There are important groups like Hospice who can help manage the suffering of the terminally ill toward the end. And even though there is no doubt that people will suffer, the cost of ‘sanitizing suicide’ through rhetoric such as ‘death with dignity’ is too great for society. This movement has the potential to even encourage and justify the decision to commit suicide. For people with disabilities and mental illness who need our help to remain strong this is a dangerous road making the job of caretakers even harder. It also has the potential to have people who may have otherwise beaten the disease they’re afflicted with end their life before they start the fight creating victims of those they leave behind.

Don't sanitize suicide. There is dignity in life and in death. Turning doctors into 'death's doorman' is anything but dignified. It's dangerous.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea.

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