Saturday, April 13, 2019
New Jersey's Democratic governor Phil Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act on Friday, a law that will allow terminally ill patients to end their life using physician assisted suicide. The law will go into effect the first of August, making New Jersey the 7th state to allow terminally ill patients to humanely choose their own end.
The law will allow patients to obtain and self-administer medication to end their lives, though their attending and consulting physicians must first determine that the patient has a life expectancy of six months or less, has the capacity to make health care decisions and is acting voluntarily.
Though the governor is a lifelong Catholic and stated that he wrestled with the choice of whether to sign it or not, he decided that signing was "the right thing to do." Lawmakers have tried since at least 2012 to advance the legislation. “By signing this bill today, we are providing terminally ill patients and their families with the humanity, dignity, and respect that they so richly deserve at the most difficult times any of us will face.”
See Tal Axelrod, New Jersey Becomes 7th State to Permit Assisted Suicide, The Hill, April 12, 2019; see also Mike Catalini, New Jersey Law Allows Terminally Ill to get Life-Ending Meds, Fox News, April 12, 2019.
Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.