Advocacy Group Vows to Overturn NJ Ruling Temporarily Suspending Aid-in-Dying Law
Group Has Successfully Defended Lawsuits Seeking to Overturn CA, OR, VT Laws
Compassion & Choices is vowing to overturn a New Jersey judge’s ruling temporarily suspending the implementation of the state’s new medical aid-in-dying law because the state did not issue regulations for the law before it took effect on Aug. 1.
The restraining order is in response to a lawsuit, Glassman v. Grewal, filed by a Bergen County physician, Yosef Glassman, against the state attorney general, claiming the medical aid-in-dying law violates federal law, the New Jersey and U.S. constitutions.
Similar to laws in eight other states and Washington, D.C., 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.
“We believe that the law meets constitutional and regulatory requirements,” said Kevin Díaz, chief of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices. “We’re confident we will ultimately defeat this attack on the rights of terminally ill patients because we have successfully defended legal challenges to medical aid-in-dying laws in California, Oregon and Vermont.”
“Every day that the law is suspended will result in more terminally ill New Jerseyans suffering needlessly because they won’t have this peaceful dying option,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices, who was raised in Oradell, New Jersey. “We fought on behalf of terminally ill New Jerseyans for seven long years to get this law passed. We’ll do everything in our power to defend their legal right to use this compassionate option.”
“I hope and pray the courts will do the right thing and promptly allow the state to resume implementing this compassionate law,” said Rumson resident Susan Boyce, who has a progressive, terminal genetic disease called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. The disease requires Boyce to use an oxygen tank because her lung function is below 30 percent (read and watch Susan’s full story at bit.ly/SusanBoyceOpedVideo). “I repeatedly testified in support of this law because I knew that just having this option would give me great comfort. I felt that peace of mind as soon as the law went into effect on August 1. But now I don’t have it and it’s infuriating.”
In addition to New Jersey and Washington. D.C., the eight other states that have authorized medical aid in dying are: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawai‘i and Maine, whose law is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 15. Collectively, these 10 jurisdictions represent more than one out of five Americans (22%).