New Jersey Assembly Approves Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

October 20, 2016

The New Jersey State Assembly today approved the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Act (A2451), which would make medical aid in dying an option for terminally ill residents. The bipartisan 41-28 vote advances the bill to the state Senate.

The bill would allow a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with fewer than six months to live the option to request a prescription for life-ending medication that can be self-administered – if and when the individual chooses – to end unbearable suffering and bring about a peaceful and humane death.

A 2015 Rutgers Eagleton poll shows that by more than a 2-1 margin (63% to 29%) New Jersey residents support an aid-in-dying bill that “would allow terminally ill patients to obtain a prescription to end their lives.”

“Again and again, the people of New Jersey have indicated that they stand firmly behind providing their terminally ill neighbors with a humane, medical option to reduce unbearable suffering as the end draws near,” said Ethan Andersen, field organizer for Compassion & Choices. “We are gratified that the members of the Assembly heard our voices, and have helped this bill move one step closer to becoming law.”

The bill’s journey to a full Assembly vote, which included its passage through the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Oct. 6, adds to the building momentum behind similar legislation around the country. Earlier this month, a Washington D.C. Council panel advanced a similar bill in the nation’s capital, and an initiative that would authorize aid in dying is currently the most popular measure on the Colorado ballot this November. California, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Vermont have already authorized medical aid in dying for terminally ill residents.

“Today’s vote brought my sister and I one step closer to our ultimate goal – obtaining and exercising our right to die with dignity,” said Laurie Wilcox, a retired nurse from Clark, N.J. Laurie and her sister, Melissa Wilcox, suffer from small cell lung cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, respectively.

“We will continue to treasure the time we have left while hoping that our elected officials in both the Senate and governor’s office will choose to provide us with the end-of-life choices we deserve.”

 

Compassion & Choices
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Sean Crowley
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Patricia A. González-Portillo
National Latino Media Director
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(323) 819 0310

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