Health Law

NJ Lawmakers to Consider 'Right to Die' Legislation


New legislation introduced in New Jersey this week would grant doctors the right to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients who request the life-ending medications.

The Death with Dignity Act is modeled after similar laws in Oregon and Washington state. The New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the author of the legislation expects significant debate over the bill.

“This is the beginning of discussing a topic that we’ve got to get a sense of how people feel,” John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, said of the legislation. “People are not favorable to a Dr. Kevorkian suicide bill that says someone who’s 45 and depressed and decides to kill themselves with help. That’s not what this bill is.”

Ultimately, voters would need to approve of the law. If it passes, patients with less than six months to live would be able to begin a process to request life-ending drugs and finally self-administer them. The legislation calls for waiting periods, counseling and recommended next-of-kin notifications.

Related coverage:

L.A. Times: “New Jersey could become 3rd state with right-to-die law”

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