New Jersey has passed legislation in both legislative chambers expected to make it the seventh state, along with D.C., to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
“I look forward to signing this legislation into law,” Governor Phil Murphy (D) has said, New Jersey radio station WBGO reports.
“The Medical Aid In Dying For The Terminally Ill Act” was introduced on January 9th 2018 by Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli. On March 25th of this year, it passed both the assembly and the senate. According to the legislation’s text, it grants “the right of a qualified terminally ill patient, protected by appropriate safeguards, to obtain medication that the patient may choose to self-administer in order to bring about the patient’s humane and dignified death.”
Burzichelli was quoted in Philadelphia Daily News as saying his bill gives New Jersey residents an addition option for assisted-suicide.“There’s already aid in dying in New Jersey and in Pennsylvania through the magic of morphine. With a wink and a nod, people have gotten it," Burzichelli said, adding that "some people would like another choice and complete control over this.”
Msgr. Louis A. Marucci, pastor at Saint Andrew the Apostle Church in Gibbsboro, condemned the bill, writing in the Catholic Herald Star that the bill threatens the lives of not only the terminally-ill, but also of people who could live long and productive lives with proper medical care:
“Many people who are not terminally ill will also die, including persons who could live a long and productive life with appropriate medical treatment. Assisted suicide reflects a bias against persons with disabilities, serious illness and the elderly, facilitating an environment in which their destruction is deemed preferable to compassionately addressing their health problems. It undermines efforts to ensure that pain relief is available to all who need it, causing even greater pain and suffering to terminally ill patients and their families.”