UPDATED 1:32 PM PT — Monday, July 29, 2019
Supporters of New Jersey’s so called ‘right-to-die’ law await the legislation to take effect this week. Earlier this year, New Jersey became the eighth U.S. state to pass an assisted suicide law, which allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with prescribed medication from a doctor.
The law lays out requirements for patients to be eligible for a doctor assisted suicide. The terminally ill patient is required to have an incurable diagnosis with six months or less to live, ask their doctor for prescription drugs to end their life twice within a 15 day time frame, and submit a written request for an assisted suicide witnessed by two other people.
In addition, a second doctor must verify the diagnoses is correct and the patient must be “fully informed” of other treatment options, including pain control.
” I’m a witness to watching my beautiful, intelligent mother whimper in agony as cancer spread from her breast to her bones and then to her brain…the doctor gave her the last dose of morphine and I held my mother’s hand and watched as her breathing became shallower until she passed peacefully. I’m here to ask you to make the just decision — one that allows someone to have that right if they are deemed to be terminally ill to end their life in peace with their family.”
— Carol Rizzo, supporter of assisted suicide law
However, not everyone is on board with giving terminally ill patients the right to die. Opponents, including medical professionals and religious leaders, argue the emotionally charged law would limit the patient’s freedom and inhibit doctors from providing potentially life-saving treatments.
“I will tell you this is not about freedom and autonomy and choice, this limits your freedom, it limits your access to care and it decreases your ability to obtain life-saving care. I deal with terminal patients every day, I’ve done it for over 30 years and this is getting worse and worse.”
— Dr. T. Brian Callister, opponent to assisted suicide law
Despite the ongoing debate on the morality of assisted suicide, the legislation will officially become law in New Jersey on Thursday.