New Jersey’s Medical Aid-in-Dying Law Blocked

Suit filed by opposition physician puts access on temporary hold.
August 23, 2019

This unfortunate turn comes from a lawsuit filed August 8 by a physician who opposes the law on religious grounds. Superior Court Judge Paul Innes in Mercer County granted a temporary restraining order on August 14, preventing doctors from writing prescriptions.

The trial court set a hearing for October 23, 2019. But the New Jersey Attorney General has appealed the temporary restraining order. Although immediate relief wasn’t granted, the New Jersey Court of Appeals set a very quick schedule, with the final brief due Friday, August 22, at noon EST. We could hear from theCourt of Appeals at any time on whether or not the temporary restraining order will remain in effect or be dissolved until the October 23 hearing. 

Formally called the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, the measure was signed into law in April by Gov. Phil Murphy, who remains supportive “We’re going to vigorously fight that injunction,” he said. “This was a really hard one for me — particularly growing up as a Catholic. This was not an easy one to get to, but I got convinced that it shouldn’t be the law that dictates how things end but it should be you and your loved ones.”

Compassion & Choices fought on behalf of terminally ill New Jerseyans for nearly eight years to get this law passed, and we are working diligently in defense of their hard-won right to use it.

Currently we’re engaged with local attorneys and legislative champions to overturn the judge’s ruling and refute the opposition’s claims that the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act violates state and federal law — including the state and U.S. Constitutions.

Compassion & Choices Chief of Legal Advocacy Kevin Díaz said, “We’re confident this attack on the rights of terminally ill patients will be defeated because we have successfully defended legal challenges to access medical aid-in-dying laws in California, Oregon and Vermont.” But every day that the law is suspended means more terminally ill patients will suffer. 

Compassion & Choices
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