N.J. Senate will once again consider legalizing assisted suicide

TRENTON, N.J. — Hide your grandma and grandpa, Save Jerseyans.

The NJ Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee will take up the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” (S1072) on Thursday. The measure got out of the Assembly Judiciary Committee last year but never received a State Senate floor vote. A1504 is currently working its way through the lower chamber.

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According to the Senate bill’s statement, the legislation would establish a series of procedures designed to “allow an adult New Jersey resident, who has the capacity to make health care decisions and who has been determined by that individual’s attending and consulting physicians to be terminally ill, to obtain medication that the patient may self-administer to terminate the patient’s life.”

“Terminally ill” is defined as being in a “terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease, or condition with a prognosis, based upon reasonable medical certainty, of a life expectancy of six months or less.”

So-called assisted suicide is currently legal in seven states and the District of Columbia. In 2016, Oregon saw more than 37 assisted suicide deaths for every 10,000 deaths.

It remains a highly controversial practice with critics citing not only the moral dimensions but also the high potential abuse. The American Medical Association espouses the view that “[p]hysician-assisted suicide is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.” 

The New Jersey Senate hearing is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Thursday in the State House Annex Building.

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