New Jersey will join six other states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Vermont) and the District of Columbia in legalizing medically-assisted suicide.
The legislation would allow adult residents of New Jersey who have less than six months to live to seek life-ending medication. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has said he will sign the bill, passed by the state Assembly and Senate on March 25.
The bill passed the Assembly by a 41-33 margin, and the Senate in a 21-16 vote.
Patients Rights Action Fund’s executive director, Matt Valliere said that the legislation would endanger those most in need of help, according to a report at the website LifeNews.
“Today, the New Jersey Assembly and Senate failed its citizens by passing A1504/S1072. In other states where assisted suicide is legal, it has proven impossible to regulate and leaves the door wide open for abuse and coercion. The vulnerable in society: the poor, terminally ill, and people with disabilities, will be the most negatively affected by assisted suicide. New Jersey ought to be investing in better care and support at the end of life, not enshrining this dangerous public policy into law. We call on Governor Phil Murphy to veto this bill,” he said.
New Jersey Right Life noted that the legislation strips protections from patients, leaving them vulnerable to pressures to cut costs.
“This legislation is bad public policy for New Jersey,” said the pro-life group, according to LifeNews. “It threatens the doctor-patient relationship because it will turn physicians who are meant to be healers into agents of death, who will act directly to cause the death of patient. As we have seen in other states where assisted suicide is legal, health insurance companies (including Medicaid providers) who are always looking to cut costs will deny patients treatments to save and sustain their lives, but instead offer assisted suicide drugs because it is cheaper to do so.”
“The “so-called” safeguards in the bill are hollow and do not protect the patient. In addition, the bill grants complete immunity to everyone but the patient. It also involves third parties in the decision making process (including those who are not “capable” of personally communicating their wishes) and is a recipe for abuse, especially for the elderly and disabled populations,” they said.