The “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (A-1504)” is sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli, a Gloucester County Democrat. Last Monday, the assembly’s Judiciary Committee advanced the bill by a vote of 5-2.
The measure has failed in previous assembly attempts at passage during the Chris Christie administration. Its advocates hope that Gov. Phil Murphy will sign the bill into law.
Following a similar Oregon bill, A-1504 would allow a terminally ill, mentally fit, adult patient to request a prescription for a lethal medication. The bill outlines that two doctors would be needed to endorse that the patient, a New Jersey resident, had six months or less to live. The patient would be required to request the prescription in writing and witnessed by two people. One of the witnesses cannot be a family member who might be a beneficiary of the patient’s will or the patient’s attending physicians. The patient would also have to make two oral requests for the prescription. And the patient must be able to administer the medicine to himself. Similar legislation has passed in six states and Washington, D.C.