New Jersey state house Trenton

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Murphy says he'll sign NJ bill allowing medically assisted suicide

March 25, 2019 - 1:03 pm
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TRENTON (1010 WINS) – New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill Monday that will let doctors help terminally ill patients end their lives.

The state Assembly voted to pass the “Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act." The Senate also approved the bill. 

Gov. Phil Murphy, who has the final say, indicated Monday afternoon that he'll sign the legislation.

"This measure is about dignity," the governor said in a statement. "Allowing terminally ill and dying residents the dignity to make end-of-life decisions according to their own consciences is the right thing to do. I look forward to signing this legislation into law."

New Jersey will become the eighth in the nation with a "right-to-die" law.

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The measure will let patients with a terminal diagnosis end their lives within six months, working with doctors who would prescribe life-ending medications.

Before the vote, Assemblyman John Burzichelli told 1010 WINS it’s only right that those suffering be allowed to make the decision.

“Anyone that’s been bedside of a terminally ill person – at some point, steps are taken to help the person along, but right at this point it is not legal for that same person in the bed to ask for help to end their life. This bill would allow the person who is suffering to make that decision and control their own circumstances to the end,” Burzichelli said.

Twenty-six New Jersey doctors recently signed an op-ed for NJ.com backing the proposal, but some in the medical community say the measure is incompatible with doctors’ charge to “do no harm.” Some disability advocates also opposed the measure.

According to a 2018 Medscape survey, 58 percent of physicians nationwide say medical aid in dying “should be made legal for terminally ill patients.”

Since being introduced in 2012, the right-to-die bill passed the New Jersey Assembly twice but ultimately stalled in the Senate.

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