New Jersey

“New Jersey Senate committee advances assisted-suicide bill”
(North Jersey.com — December 15, 2014)
It barely got the support to pass the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Monday, by a vote of 5-3, but some lawmakers who were in favor of the legislation said they would vote against it in the full Senate.
[S]everal speakers expressed worry that the law, if passed, would become an option of first resort, not the last, for some.
“What we have is palliative care for the rich and death for the poor.  Is that the road we’re really going down here?” said Alan Holdsworth, a member of the group Not Dead Yet.

“New Jersey Senate Committee Shuts Out Disability Rights Community from Assisted Suicide Hearing”
(New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed Suicide — December 8, 2014)
In a breathtaking turn of events, the committee scheduled to hear arguments today on assisted suicide bill S382 declined to invite the bill’s most vocal opponents, the disability rights community.  When in June the Assembly bill was temporarily pulled for lack of votes, the Star-Ledger reported, “Disability advocates, fearing the legislation could be manipulated to prematurely end patients’ lives, turned out in force to testify against the bill.”

“Assisted suicide laws are more dangerous than people acknowledge”
(NJ Star Ledger — October 31, 2014)
The media is flush with the sympathetic story of Brittany Maynard, the 29-year-old newlywed with aggressive brain cancer….When the focus is on an individual, assisted suicide can sound good — who’s against compassion  or relieving suffering?  But a closer look reveals that assisted suicide puts vulnerable people in mortal danger….The simple truth is that not all families are loving. Elder abuse is a nationally recognized epidemic. Every year, New Jersey elders suffer an estimated 175,000 cases of reported and unreported abuse, most by adult children and caregivers.

“Too many loopholes on NJ’s assisted-suicide bill”
(Star-Ledger — July 1 2014)
When it comes to emotion as a barrier to reason, assisted suicide’s proponents have a much bigger problem than opponents.  But that’s understandable.

“Not Dead Yet Applauds Disability Rights Advocates for Key Role in Stalling New Jersey Assisted Suicide Bill”
(June 27, 2014)
In a stunning defeat for proponents of assisted suicide, the New Jersey assisted suicide bill (A2270) was pulled from the floor and tabled until September for lack of votes.  Not Dead Yet applauded New Jersey disability advocates as press reports credited disability rights opposition for the defeat.

“Assisted Suicide: Just Too Dangerous”
(PolitickerNJ — June 26, 2014)
No matter how many amendments get added to the assisted suicide bill, A2270, whether for a prettier name (out goes “Death with Dignity,” in comes “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill”) or for a changed-then-changed-back-again definition of “terminal illness,” the bill is too dangerous….
The bill enables the introduction of poisonous drugs into abusive situations without even requiring an independent, disinterested witness be present at the dying. This bill takes no notice of how self-interest can motivate family members and caregivers.  No investigations take place under these bills, which explains the absurd claim by proponents that there has been not one case of abuse in Oregon….
We disabled people have lives that frequently look like the lives of people requesting assisted suicide, but we reject as bizarre the notion that personal dignity is somehow lost through physical dependence on others.

Doctor-prescribed suicide bill amended (June 16, 2014)
The current version of A-2270 has a new title.  The title is now “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” and the provision for sending the bill to the voters has been deleted.

“‘Aid in dying’ bill approved by NJ Assembly committee”
(Star Ledger — June 5, 2014)
The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee voted 7-4 to release the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act….Under the bill, New Jersey patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and expecting to die within six months would be permitted to obtain medication they could self-administer to kill themselves “in a humane and dignified manner.”
[Prior to committee passage of A-2270, the title was amended to the "Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act" and the sections requiring that the bill be submitted to a voter referendum were deleted.]

Testimony of John B. Kelley regarding A 2270
(June 4, 2014)
We chose our name Second Thoughts because we find that many people, once they delve below the surface appeal of assisted suicide, have “second thoughts” and oppose it….What we disabled people see in legalizing assisted suicide is that some people get suicide prevention, while others get suicide assistance, based on value judgments and prejudice.

2014 — “Death with Dignity” bills (A-2270 and S-382) were introduced. They are identical to the 2013 bills (A-3328 and S-2259)

“Death with Dignity” bills  (A-3328 and S-2259) were considered in 2013.
ANALYSIS of A-3328
(3/22/13)

Medical Society of New Jersey:
Opposition to New Jersey Death with Dignity Act” 

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Current N. J. Law
A person who purposely aids another to commit suicide is guilty of a crime of the second degree if his conduct causes such suicide or an attempted suicide, and otherwise of a crime of the fourth degree. N.J. Statute Sec. 2C:11-6.

Background
On September 27, 2012, Assemblyman John J. Burzichelli (Democrat, District 3) introduced A3328.  His bill, the “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act” mirrors Oregon’s and Washington’s doctor-prescribed suicide laws, also called “Death with Dignity” laws.  On October 15, 2012, Senator Nicholas P. Scutari (Democrat, District 22) and Senator Joseph F. Vitale (Democrat, District 19) introduced the Senate version of the bill.

If passed by the New Jersey legislature, the Act, as now written, would have to be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election to be held at least 70 days following the date of its enactment. However, Assemblyman Burzichelli has indicated that he may amend the bill so that it does not require voter approval.

If approved by the voters, the act would take effect on the first day of the third month following voter approval.

Text of A-3328, Assembly version of “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act”
Text of S-2259, Senate version of “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act”

Articles:

“Too many loopholes on NJ’s assisted-suicide bill”
(Star-Ledger — July 1 2014)
When it comes to emotion as a barrier to reason, assisted suicide’s proponents have a much bigger problem than opponents.  But that’s understandable.

“Assisted Suicide: Just Too Dangerous”
(PolitickerNJ — June 26, 2014)
No matter how many amendments get added to the assisted suicide bill, A2270, whether for a prettier name (out goes “Death with Dignity,” in comes “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill”) or for a changed-then-changed-back-again definition of “terminal illness,” the bill is too dangerous….

“‘Aid in dying’ bill approved by NJ Assembly committee”
(Star Ledger — June 5, 2014)
The Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee voted 7-4 to release the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act….Under the bill, New Jersey patients diagnosed with a terminal illness and expecting to doe within six months would be permitted to obtain medication they could self-administer to kill themselves “in a humane and dignified manner.”

Gov. Chris Christie opposes doctor-prescribed suicide bill
“What’s next for the Christie cabinet?”
(Capitol Quickies blog — December 3, 2013)
Assemblyman John Burzichelli’s “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act” proposal, which would grant doctors the right to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to patients who have less than six months to live, doesn’t have Christie’s backing.  “Opposed,” Christie said.

“N.J. assisted suicide proposal is a dangerous prescription”
(Trenton Times and NJ.com — August 10, 2013)
When we’re talking about changing public policy that affects the health-care system that we all depend on and the real world of families that are not necessarily all loving and supportive, lawmakers have an obligation to think of everyone, not just those who are safe from the very real risks posed by assisted suicide legislation.

“The dangerous ‘help’ of assisted suicide”
(Star Ledger, NJ — July 23, 2013)
People with disabilities and chronic conditions live on the front lines of the health care system that serves (and, sadly, often underserves) dying people. One might view us as the :canaries in the coal mine,” alerting others to dangers we see first.

“Amick: Death with Dignity Act prime sponsor wants public, colleagues to reflect on the subject”
(Star Ledger, NJ — July 22, 2013)
Assemblyman John Burzichelli said his bill, as written, would require an affirmative statewide referendum vote, but he now believes the decision to turn the proposal into law should be left in the hands of the Legislature and governor. He intends to continue his dialogues between now and the November election, a period when the legislative process will be essentially on hold.

“Attorney Anne Studholme on New Jersey ‘Dom Time’ Show Opposite NY C & C Director David Leven”
(Not Dead Yet — June 4, 2013)
On May 14, NDY attorney in New Jersey, Anne Studholme, squared off against New York Compassion & Choices Director David Leven on New Jersey’s “Dom Time” show, a news and call-in show hosted and moderated by Dom Giordano.

“General Practitioner Opposes New Jersey’s Death with Dignity Act”
(NJTV — March 28, 2013)
Dr. Ann Gomes said, “Anyone can pick up that prescription.  Who’s going to be monitoring that medication? It can get in the wrong hands. Children at home.”

“Begin debate on life, death”
(Ashbury Park Press — February 11, 2013)
[Claudia] Burzichelli was in Trenton offering emotional testimony in support of legislation, the Death with Dignity Act (A-3328) sponsored by her brother-in-law, Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli. The bill, cleared by a 7-2 vote in the Health and Senior Services Committee, now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.  The bill has yet to be moved out of a Senate committee.  Before the question appears on the ballot, the bill would have to be passed by a three-fifths majority in both houses.

“N. J. Assembly panel approves ‘Death with Dignity Act”
(Star Ledger — February 7, 2013)
The NJ Assembly Health Committee has passed the “New Jersey Death with Dignity Act (A3328).  The committee voted 7-2 with two abstentions to approve the bill which now goes to the full 80-membar Assembly.

“Assisted Suicide for the Terminally Ill Gets Support from N.J. Legislators”|
(New Jersey Law Journal — October 9, 2012)
New Jersey legislators are pushing for adoption of a law that would make New Jersey the third state, after Oregon and Washington, to allow assisted suicide…
Although the bill in its current form calls for a referendum on assisted suicide, Burzichelli says he intends to strike that requirement…

“Controversial law would allow terminally ill patients to decide when it’s time to die”
(NJ.com –Star Ledger — September 27, 2012)
This appears to be the first time a lawmaker in New Jersey has proposed such a measure, said Peter Mazzi, a librarian for the Office of Legislative Services.  Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) who decides which bills get posted for a vote in the lawer house, signaled she would review the legislation.