According to Faithwire, New Jersey is on a path to become the next state to pass an assisted suicide bill. Reportedly, the bill gained steam after the president of New Jersey’s Senate purposely replaced two members who had voted against the measure in the past.
Recently, the state’s Senate legislative committee decided by a vote of six to three to advance a bill that would legally permit physicians to prescribe lethal amounts of death-inducing drugs to those suffering from terminal illnesses. The new law would only allow people of legal age to receive the deadly overdose. The bill would also require two doctors to agree that a patient has less than six months to live. To get the drug, a patient would have to submit three requests to a physician. One of these requests must be in writing. After obtaining the drug, the patient would have to self-administer it. Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington D.C. already have laws that provide legal provisions for euthanasia.
The bill, titled the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, allows a “qualified terminally ill patient to self-administer medication to end life in a humane and dignified manner.” The wording of the measure also says it will “guide health care providers and patient advocates who provide support to dying patients,” as well as “ensure that the process is entirely voluntary on the part of all participants.” Oregon’s assisted suicide law was approved in 1997. According to an official report, as of January 19, 2018, 1,275 terminally ill people have perished from taking the drugs that doctors prescribed for them to end their lives.
Unsurprisingly, numerous advocates in the pro-life community have made their opposition to the proposed New Jersey bill known. Dr. Edward J. Furton informed the Catholic News Agency, “Like other states that have confused liberty with license, New Jersey is considering a law that would promote physician-prescribed death. The proposal violates the sacred oath of the medical profession, recognized even by pre-Christian cultures, to heal the sick and preserve life.” He went on to say, “Very few choose this route because of severe pain.” He revealed that patients often decide to kill themselves because they “suffer from despair, loneliness, or feelings of unwantedness.”
“Physicians should have no part in this reversal of the traditional aims of their profession, preserving health and life,” Dr. Furton added.
During a heated debate on the measure, Kristen Hanson stated, “These laws abandon vulnerable patients.” The Patients’ Rights Action Fund was founded in 2014 by Hanson’s husband J.J., a Marine Corps veteran, after he was diagnosed with brain cancer and told he had just four months to live. J.J. passed away in 2018 at the age of 36. Since her husband’s death, Hanson has staunchly fought for improvements in patient care rather than the introduction of assisted suicide.
Talking about her late husband, she said, “J.J. was a volunteer fireman, and he served New York state under Governor Spitzer and Patterson. Then, after he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, he dedicated his final days to fighting the legalization of assisted suicide.”
The widow recounted being informed that her spouse suffered from the “deadliest form of brain cancer and four months to live.” She mentioned that three physicians told J.J. they couldn’t do anything else for him.
“Thankfully, we didn’t listen,” Hansen said. “J.J. had great success with treatment and outlived his grim prognosis by over four years. During that time, our son created so many priceless memories with him and we welcomed a second son into the world.” The widow commented that she believes introducing laws that enable patients like her husband to easily kill themselves is undignified and irresponsible.
Hanson remarked, “These laws abandon vulnerable patients like J.J. who can experience periods of depression at any point following their diagnosis. Once patients receive the lethal prescription, they are on their own.” The patients’ rights advocate concluded by saying, “My greatest fear is that when assisted suicide becomes a medical treatment, it injects governmental pressure and profit-driven insurance decisions into everyone’s end-of-life care. You cannot focus on the individual patient when you look at this legislation. We should be looking at improving multi-disciplinary end-of-life care, not assisted suicide.”
Pray that the New Jersey lawmakers will choose life instead of approving the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. Also, pray for healing, comfort, and discernment for those currently battling a terminal illness.
~ 1776 Christian