Assisted suicide once again pushed by New Jersey lawmakers

If the patient is not alone, how do we know he is not coerced to take the medication, or even given the medication without consent? A terminally ill patient should not be exposed to such a risk.

“Between insurance companies having the cheapest way out by a couple of pills rather than a life-saving procedure, and the potential perverse incentives, unintended consequences from family members trying to push granny down the road, that is real and we’ve seen it,” Dr. Brian Callister said.

Daniel Sulmasy, a professor of biomedical ethics at Georgetown University, meanwhile, warned that “assisted suicide is just the beginning.”

The so-called “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act,” A-1504, was first introduced in 2012 and since then has twice been passed by the Assembly only to stall in the Senate. Former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, was opposed, but advocates hope Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, will be more receptive.

The New Jersey measure, patterned after a law passed in Oregon in 1997, would allow a terminally ill, mentally competent, adult resident of New Jersey to request and use a prescription for lethal medication. Six states and the District of Columbia already have such laws.

Two physicians would be required to attest that the person had less than six months to live. The request would have to be made in writing and witnessed by two people — including one who was not a family member, a beneficiary of the patient’s will or the attending physician. Two other requests would have to be made orally. The person who requested it would have to be capable of taking the medicine himself or herself.

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