Advocacy Group Urges Opponents to Drop Lawsuit, Legislation to Overturn NJ Medical Aid-in-Dying Law
Issue History and Polling Shows Opponents on Wrong Side of Law & Public Opinion
Compassion & Choices urged a lone physician who has filed a lawsuit to overturn New Jersey’s medical aid-in-dying law and an Assemblyman who has authored legislation to repeal it to drop their efforts because they will cause terminally ill New Jerseyans unable to access law to suffer needlessly.
Bergen Assemblyman Robert Auth and Bergenfield physician Yosef Glassman held an 11 a.m. news conference today at the Statehouse to promote Auth’s bill, A5525, and Glassman’s lawsuit, Glassman v. Grewal, that resulted in a judge granting a temporary restraining order last week to stop implementation of the law that took effect Aug. 1.
The New Jersey law allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to get prescription medication they can decide to take to die peacefully in their sleep, if their suffering becomes unbearable. Washington, D.C. and eight other states have authorized medical aid in dying: California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Montana (via state Supreme Court ruling), Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and starting Sept. 15, Maine.
“Dr. Glassman and Assemblyman Auth should let every New Jerseyan follow their own conscience and respect their right to make their own end-of-life care decisions,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey senior campaign director for Compassion & Choices, which has defeated legal and legislative attempts to deauthorize medical aid in dying in California, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. “They’re on the wrong side of the law and public opinion. Poll after poll shows a strong majority of New Jersey voters, across the political and faith spectrum, support medical aid in dying, and this law passed with bipartisan support, in contrast to Assemblyman Auth’s partisan bill.”
“Several terminally ill patients have contacted me who are dismayed by the fact that this judge’s decision has shattered their hopes of accessing a peaceful end to their suffering,” said Deborah Pasik, M.D. FACR, a physician in Morristown, New Jersey. “I urge the courts to reinstate this law because terminally ill New Jerseyans don’t have enough time to wait out a prolonged legal challenge to this compassionate law.”
“I understand why Dr. Glassman and Assemblyman Auth personally oppose medical aid in dying, but they’re free not to participate in the law, and that doesn’t give them the right to deny terminally ill New Jerseyans who support this law to use it,” said Rumson resident Susan Boyce, who has a progressive, terminal genetic disease called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (see Susan’s full story at bit.ly/SusanBoyceOpedVideo). “Every terminally ill New Jerseyan should be able to decide what is the best end-of-life care option for them, in consultation with their doctors, loved ones, and faith leaders.”