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Bill for ‘Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act’ passed New Jersey Assembly and Senate

On March 25, 2019, a floor vote on bill S1072 and A1504, creating an ‘Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act’, took place in the Assembly and the Senate. The bill passed both chambers. The bill passed the Assembly with 41 votes to 33, and the Senate with 21 votes to 16.


Now, the bill only needs the signature of Governor Phil Murphy, who already said that he would sign the bill. “Allowing terminally ill and dying residents the dignity to make end-of-life decisions according to their own consciences is the right thing to do,” said Murphy. 


The Act allows adults with a prognosis of six months or less to live to get a prescription for life-ending medication. The Act requires a second opinion on the diagnosis, and either a psychiatrist or psychologist must determine that the patient has the mental capacity to make the decision. The prescription is a series of self-administered pills that can be taken at home.


New Jersey legislators have tried passing versions of this bill since 2014, but this was the first time the bill went to a vote in the senate. The bill narrowly passed in the Senate, and some who voted against it are apprehensive about the its effects. “The bill has lasting ramifications and lots of loopholes,” said Republican Sen. Robert Singer. “We are so concerned about opioids, and not trusting doctors with opioids. But now we are willing to trust them with this.”
Murphy hasn’t announced when he will sign the bill into law.