New Jersey Columns, Editorials, Op Eds Endorsing Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

New Jersey newspapers have published numerous columns, editorials and opeds urging the state legislature to pass the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” since the bill was first introduced as the “Death with Dignity Act” in 2012. Below is a list of some of the most recent ones, with key excerpts.
January 22, 2019

Asbury Park Press oped by terminally ill Rumson resident Susan Boyce, “N.J. should pass overdue Aid in Dying bill,” Jan. 8, 2019

“When you have a terminal disease, every day is precious, so you spend your free time on the things that deeply matter to you. That’s why I have spent some of mine advocating for the New Jersey Legislature to pass the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (A1504/S1072), so that when I die, I will have the option to take prescription medication to peacefully end my suffering if it becomes intolerable…

“What I think people most misunderstand about medical aid in dying is that terminally ill adults who would be eligible under this bill to use this option are not eager to die. They want to live, but they are dying. What we want to do is avoid needless suffering at the last little bit of the dying process. Just having this option available brings peace in and of itself, even if it’s never exercised…”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger oped by Essex County attorney Ed Barocas, “I have disabilities. It offends me the state needs to ‘protect’ me, limit my right to make decisions. Support ‘Aid in Dying,’” Nov. 30, 2018

“As someone who has a disability, something that concerns and in fact offends me is the contradictory notion that in order to protect people with illness or disability, we need to paternalistically limit their right to make decisions and prevent them from having options…

“For six years, the legislature has debated this legislation that polling shows New Jerseyans support by more than a two-to-one margin. It is time to conclude this endless debate and for the legislature to pass this compassionate bill…”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger oped by Clark resident Linda Wilcox, “My sister and I are nurses who are disabled by life-shortening diseases. Let us die our own way,” Nov. 13, 2018

“My sister and I are nurses who are disabled by life-shortening diseases. As a result, we
know from first-hand experience about both the limits of modern medicine at life’s end
and the challenges of living with disabling medical conditions…

“Neither of us wants to die, but we know we are going to die long before the end of our
natural lives. When that time is imminent, and if our suffering becomes unbearable, we
both would like to have the opportunity to die in our own way, at home, with our family
and friends around us…

“All my sister and I ask is that our lawmakers not allow a minority of New Jerseyans to deny this option to a majority of their constituents like us who want it.”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger oped by Princeton Junction resident Elane Gutterman, “As a health researcher who has seen a loved one suffer through illness, ‘aid in dying’ is a humane option,” Oct. 27, 2018

My 77-year-old grandfather was bedridden, often in pain and uncomfortable. After a long, full life, he no longer wanted to live under these circumstances. He told my father, he did not think it was right that the law did not allow him to peacefully end his suffering.

“…as a New Jersey-based health researcher, I recognized that the best available guidance for what medical aid in dying could look like in New Jersey was past experience in other states. In this case, I reviewed summary data reflecting 20 years of experience with Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act.

“According to a Journal of Medical Ethics report about the Oregon Death with Dignity Act: “Rates of assisted dying in Oregon…showed no evidence of heightened risk for…the physically disabled or chronically ill, minors, people with psychiatric illnesses including depression, or racial or ethnic minorities, compared with background populations.”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger oped by Dan Diaz, “My newlywed wife ended her life on her terms. Brittany Maynard advocated for aid-in-dying laws,” Oct. 22, 2018

“More than two dozen states have considered medical aid-in-dying bills since last year…

“It is important for lawmakers to recognize that medical aid in dying does not cause more people to die. It just allows more dying people to peacefully stop needless suffering at life’s inevitable end.”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger column by editorial page editor Tom Moran, “I saw my sister’s terrible decline close up. We should allow death with dignity,” Oct. 14, 2018

“[New Jersey Archbishop] Tobin’s beliefs on [opposing medical aid in dying] are based on religious conviction, and I respect that. But to use the power of government to force that moral paradigm on me, or my sister, strikes me as outrageous.

“I can respect [Not Dead Yet New England Regional Director John] Kelly’s attitude about the disabled, too. But the concern is theoretical and hasn’t been borne out in states that allow [medical aid in dying]. Measured against [my sister] Lizzy’s concrete agonies, it’s not a close call.”

 

Asbury Park Press, Burlington County Times, Press of Atlantic City, and The Star-Ledger published syndicated column by cancer survivor Carl Golden, former communications director for Gov. Christie Whitman, “’Aid in dying’ is a choice sanctioned by physician,” Oct. 8, 2018

“Twenty-three years ago, I was diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, a malignancy which, if left unaddressed surgically, would lead to my death…

“Had I survived surgery but received a prognosis of an abbreviated future, I believe I would have considered and probably followed through with aiding my own departure, had such a course been available.”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger oped by Paramus nurse Debra Dunn, “My husband died in agony, and he didn’t have to. State must pass Aid-in-Dying bill,” Sept. 27, 2018

“For those people who do not want this option, that’s their right and prerogative. But no one should have the right to prevent terminally ill New Jerseyans from having the option to peacefully end their suffering…

“Pancreatic cancer is incurable, ruthless disease — a steep decline into hell. My husband deserved better than to live his painful last dying days in the way he did, which are forever engraved and ingrained in my memory.”

 

The [Parsippany] Daily Record editorial, “Supporting Aid in Dying bill a compassionate move,” Sept. 24, 2018

“The Aid in Dying Bill provides patients and families with some peace of mind that when the end is near and the suffering is great, they have options that can be pursued with dignity and compassion. That’s worth approving.”

 

[Somerville] Courier News and [East Brunswick] Home News Tribune editorial, Supporting Aid in Dying bill a compassionate move,” Sept. 24, 2018

“This bill isn’t just about ending life but improving life in some small way in a patient’s final days…

“But this is about freedom to choose, and patients with less than six months to live certainly deserve a choice in how they die.”

 

The Asbury Park Press editorial, Support compassionate Aid in Dying bill,” Spt. 24, 2018

“The experiences of other states have shown that patient attitudes improve just by knowing the aid-in-dying option is available to them.”

 

Times of Trenton editorial, “N.J. needs to allow the terminally ill the right to a peaceful death,” September 19, 2018

“Evidence from other states shows that Aid-In-Dying bills have improved the mental health in patients, and that even knowing that the option is available is often enough. Our legislators have the power to make this happen. We pray they have the human decency to do so.”

 

New Jersey Law Journal editorial, “Time Has Come For Aid-in-Dying Statute,” Sept. 3, 2018

“The prerequisites for ending one’s life under the proposed New Jersey statute are virtually identical to those contained in its previous drafts and, remarkedly [sic], to those of all U.S. jurisdictions which sanction such relief…

“We believe the choice of whether to live or die under circumstances where an individual has no quality of life and no reasonable hope of obtaining one rests solely with the person who is suffering yet competent to make that choice.”

 

Times of Trenton editorial, “Let the terminally ill decide when they want to die,” March 15, 2018

“Receptive to past criticism, namely the concern that terminally ill patients were not aware of alternatives such as hospice and palliative care, the act’s sponsors rewrote previous versions to include these options…

“With a new Legislature and a new governor, the Aid in Dying Act could move closer to reality, closer to ensuring dignity and control at a time when people need them most.”

 

South Jersey Times editorial, “N.J. death with dignity proposal gaining deserved support,” March 4, 2015

“With the stringent safeguards it includes, the approval of the legislation could help bring peace to not only the terminally ill in New Jersey, but their friends and family who must witness a loved one slowly and painfully slip away from them…

“To afford the terminally ill the chance to die on their own terms is the most humane of final gifts we could give someone. It’s time for state lawmakers to show they actually have compassion for others.”

 

Asbury Park Press editorial, “Offer choice, mercy to terminally ill,” Sept. 27, 2014

“The moral and social implications of aid in dying legislation will be debated in religious and philosophical terms for years to come. But it is time for the legal debate to conclude…

“What right should government have to dictate to people of sound mind who are slowly and painfully dying the terms of their death and to bar them from seeking a doctor’s aid in making a personal medical decision?

“State lawmakers should move ahead with this legislation…”

 

Times of Trenton editorial, “Death with Dignity for the Terminally Ill proposal includes crucial safeguards,” Aug. 10, 2014

“Religious groups, patient advocates and even physicians themselves are right to call for caution before action. But as medical science allows people to live longer, there are steps a compassionate society can and must take when longer doesn’t mean better.”

 

NJ.com/The Star-Ledger editorial, “The right to choose death: Editorial,” March 12, 2014

“Laws requiring patients to endure suffering are cruel. The Death with Dignity Act removes government from an intensely personal decision, while providing safeguards to ensure that incurable patients are making uncoerced, rational decisions.”  

 

The Press of Atlantic City editorial, “Death with dignity / A reasonable proposal,” Oct. 1, 2012

“When there is no chance of survival, a peaceful, dignified death with family at your side is something we believe most people would want.”

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