New York’s neighbor to the south has just jumped on the doctor-assisted death bandwagon.
On March 25, 2019, the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As of this writing, the bill awaits action by New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who has stated that he intends to sign it; according to Gov. Murphy, this bill will make New Jersey “a more dignified and empathetic state.” Once the bill is signed, New Jersey will become the eighth state in the nation to allow physician-assisted suicide.
New Jersey’s legislation—known as the
Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act—would allow physicians to
prescribe lethal drugs to mentally competent adults with terminal illnesses who
request such drugs. According to Politico, the bill passed each chamber with the
minimum number of necessary votes (the Assembly vote was 41-33, and the Senate
vote was 21-16).
New Jersey Asm. Jay Webber (R-Morris) argued against the bill, asserting that it “‘raises questions as to what we owe the terminally ill and the elderly among us… What we don’t owe them is a bottle of pills to make it just a little quicker for them to leave this planet.’ Webber also argued that terminal patients could choose death when confronted with the expenses of end-of-life care. He said it would be harder to talk teens out of suicide because they’d sense ‘hypocrisy.’”
The impending enactment of physician-assisted suicide will no doubt embolden advocates to pursue the same goal here in New York. At New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, we will continue to work against those efforts.