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New Jersey Considering Bill To Permit Assisted Suicide for Terminally Ill - A-3328; S-2259

Per The New Jersey Law Journal:

"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.

"Legislation pending in the Assembly and Senate would let a terminally patient with less than six months to live receive and self-administer life-ending medication if he or she expressed a wish to die.

"The prime sponsor, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, says the bill was written to put the patient in control of the decision to end his or her life, and minimize the potential for pressure from others, such as heirs and health-care providers.

"It would amend New Jersey’s criminal code, which since 1978 has made helping another person commit suicide is a second-degree crime if death results, and a fourth-degree crime if it does not. Action taken in accordance with the proposed law would be exempt from prosecution under N.J.S.A. 2C-11-6.

"Although the bill in its current form calls for a referendum on assisted suicide, Burzichelli says he intends to strike that requirement, since the legislation concerns a civil-rights issue and as such does not lend itself to a public vote."

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"The bill requires a patient seeking a lethal prescription to request it orally to his or her attending physician and reiterate the oral request at least 15 days later. The patient must then make the request in writing, and at least 48 hours must elapse between the signing of the written request and the writing of the prescription."

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"Any provision in a contract, will, insurance policy, annuity or other agreement is invalid if it conditions or restricts a person’s decision to make a request for assisted suicide, under the legislation. The bill also may not be construed to permit a physician or other person to end a patient’s life by euthanasia, lethal injection or mercy killing, or lower the standard of care to be provided by a health-care professional."

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"The Assembly measure, A-3328, introduced on Sept. 27, was referred to the Health and Senior Services Committee. The Senate version, S-2259, is sponsored by Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, and Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex."

Full article after the jump...