WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- The state of New Jersey has passed on Friday the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act which allows dying New Jerseyans to end their lives at their own discretion.
- In a statement, Gov. Phil Murphy said that signing the law is the right thing to do for terminally ill patients and their families as they face the most difficult times in their lives.
- Doctors can give the medications to these patients as long as they have been confirmed to have a life expectancy of 6 months or less and is acting on their own.
On Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act which permits “New Jersey adults to end their lives peacefully, with dignity, and at their own discretion.” This makes the state the eighth jurisdiction to let terminally ill patients end their lives. The law goes into effect on August 1, according to a statement released from the governor’s office.
“By signing this bill today, we are providing terminally ill patients and their families with the humanity, dignity, and respect that they so richly deserve at the most difficult times any of us will face,” Murphy said in a statement adding that passing the law is the “the right thing to do.”
The law also states that any terminally ill patient in New Jersey has the right to obtain and self-administer medications to end their lives. To get the medication, doctors should determine 3 important things: the patient has a life expectancy of 6 months or less, has the capacity to make health care decisions, and is acting voluntarily.
Others require patients to make two requests to give them the option to withdraw their request.
In 2014, Brittany Maynard, who championed the right-to-die-laws ended her own life at age 29 after moving from California to Oregon. Her husband Dan Diaz said she spoke up so New Jerseyans who are terminally ill like she was wouldn’t have to leave their homes like what they did just to get a chance to die peacefully.
In a statement, he thanked lawmakers in New Jersey for signing the law without superabundant rules that would stop dying New Jerseyans from using this option.
The Associated Press reported that New Jersey lawmakers have been trying unsuccessfully to get the bill approved since 2012.
So far, one in five Americans currently reside in states where the option is available, said Death with Dignity, an organization that advocates laws that allow dying individuals to end their lives.
Other states that allow terminal patients to end their lives include: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
Source: ABC News