New Jersey Assembly to Vote on Legislation of Legalize Assisted Suicide

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 11, 2014   |   5:57PM   |   Trenton, NJ

Just days after Brittany Maynard’s assisted suicide launched a national debate on the ethics of the controversial practice, the New Jersey Assembly is set to hold a debate and vote on whether to become the next state to legalize it.

Bill A2270 is now scheduled to be voted on Thursday and pro-life groups like New Jersey Right to Life are urging pro-life residents to call and email their legislators and ask for a no vote.

Please continue to email and call your two Assembly members and tell them to vote No on A2270! Please also plan to come down to Trenton on Thursday,” Marie Tasy told pro-life advocates in an email to LifeNews.

picassistedsuicide9bTasy said legislators need to understand how the legislation is “riddled with loopholes and contradictions that place the lives of the very people it purports to empower at grave risk of abuse and coercion.” She submitted the following comments:

For example, the legislation states that the process outlined in the bill should be entirely voluntary and even includes language  to hold persons accountable who coerce or exert undue influence on a patient to request medication; however, other sections in the bill leave ample room for abuse by relatives, friends, caregivers and the medical profession.

It includes in its definition of “capable,” “communication through persons familiar with the patient’s manner of communication if those persons are available” meaning that another person can communicate with physicians and caregivers relating to health care decisions under this act in addition to the patient.

Additionally, the legislation requires that two persons witness and sign a form that says the patient is capable and is acting voluntarily to sign the request.

As stated in the legislation, “at least one of the witnesses shall be a person who is not related to the patient by blood, marriage or adoption.”  This means that the second person can, in fact, be a person who is related to the patient by blood, marriage or adoption.  Conversely, but just as troubling, is the provision that one or both of these witnesses does not need to be “personally known” to the patient if the patient has provided proof of identity to the witness(es).

In another typical example of doublespeak that is pervasive throughout the legislation is a section that amends current NJ law which makes it a crime punishable by law to Aid Suicide. The proposed changes exempts “any action taken in accordance with the provisions of the Act.”

Further, it excludes all persons from “civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action for any action taken in compliance with the provisions of the bill, including person(s) who are present when a qualified terminally ill patient self-administers medication prescribed pursuant to this act.”

How can legislation that exempts all persons from liability be considered legitimate, when it does not adequately protect vulnerable patients who may be coerced or forced into taking the lethal medication once the prescription is filled?   What if the patient changes their mind and is forced to take the lethal drugs?  Who would know since the legislation does not require that a witness be present?

If this Act becomes law in NJ, will the insurance companies deny coverage for treatment but instead pay for assisted suicide because it is less costly?  This is precisely what happened in Oregon, where assisted suicide is legal.  Barbara Wagner and Randy Stroup are two examples of patients who were informed that the Oregon Health Plan wouldn’t pay for their chemotherapy, but would pay for assisted suicide.

Government’s primary duty is to protect the life of its citizens.   This legislation runs counter to that principle.  It turns doctors, trained to heal and save lives, into agents of death who can directly and intentionally act to end or participate in ending another person’s life.  It leaves vulnerable and elderly people open to abuse by family members, caregivers, financial beneficiaries, and a profit driven health insurance industry.

There is no clamor to pass this law in our state.   The legalization of assisted suicide is being pushed here in NJ and other states by a well-funded outside lobbying group called Compassion and Choices, formerly known as the Hemlock Society.

During a February 2013 legislative hearing which I attended, the President of Compassion and Choices boasted that she wrote the NJ assisted suicide legislation.  The group’s donors include billionaire investor George Soros and Population control activists.  NJ citizens deserve to know the facts about the dangers of this legislation instead of being fed empty promises by the purveyors of death who hide behind the mask of compassion and choice.