New Jersey has passed a law that will allow terminally ill patients to end their lives with medical assistance.
Gov. Phil Murphy has signed off on the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, which will allow adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live to get a prescription for life-ending medication. New Jersey is now the ninth state to pass physician-assisted suicide, along with California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, Montana and the District of Columbia.
However, those who seek to medically end their lives must be analyzed by a psychiatrist or psychologist to determine whether or not the patient is mentally capable of making the decision. The medication includes a series of pills that can be self-administered at home.
“Allowing residents with terminal illnesses to make end-of-life choices for themselves is the right thing to do,” said Governor Murphy in a statement. “By signing this bill today, we are providing terminally ill patients and their families with the humanity, dignity, and respect that they so richly deserve at the most difficult times any of us will face.” While many are praising the law’s passing, some feel there are still details that need to be sorted out.
“The bill has lasting ramifications and lots of loopholes,” said Republican Sen. Robert Singer. “We are so concerned about opioids, and not trusting doctors with opioids. But now we are willing to trust them with this.” New Jersey has reportedly attempted to pass several versions of the law since 2014, but this was the first time the bill went into a voting process. Nineteen states are also considering physician-assisted suicide bills.