Court Order Stops New Jersey Law Legalizing Assisted Suicide From Going Into Effect

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 14, 2019   |   5:37PM    Trenton, NJ

A court order has stopped the new law in New Jersey legalizing assisted suicide from going into effect.

In April, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill targeting elderly and disabled people that legalizes assisted suicide statewide. Six states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont) and Washington D.C. permit the dangerous practice of allowing physicians to write lethal prescriptions to certain groups of persons to kill themselves.

New jersey was poised to become the 7th this week, but Smith and Associates, a New Jersey law firm, obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the New Jersey assisted suicide act from going into effect. it technically went into effect August 1, but with the 15 day waiting period, no one could kill themselves until the 16th. The court order now prevents that.

Smith and Associates stated:

The Act (which should be more properly called the “New Jersey Physician-Assisted Suicide Act”), provides for, among other things, the self-infliction of death by way of fatal “medication”, i.e. pharmaceutical poisons; compelling even non-participating physicians to transfer patients’ medical records for the purpose of furthering the Statute’s aims against many of such physicians’ beliefs and duties; allowing for the disparate treatment of patients; allowing for the transfer of unused fatal pharmaceuticals to persons not otherwise authorized; and amending the statutory duty to otherwise warn of harm to others. Moreover, the Act provides that in advance of the effective date of August 1, 2019, no fewer than six (6) regulatory bodies were to have issued required rules and regulations. However, no such required regulations or rules have been issued, rendering the entire death process wholly unregulated. If the Act is not immediately enjoined, New Jersey citizens can actually begin dying pursuant to its provisions as early as August 16, 2019.

Alex Schadenberg, the head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, applauded the news and indicated: “The Superior Court of New Jersey, Justice Paul Innes, signed the temporary restraining order this morning. The New Jersey Attorney General, Gurbir Singh Grewel will have until September 13th to respond to the order.”

Kristen Hanson, Community Relations Advocate of the Patients Rights Action Fund, told LifeNews after the ruling:

“New Jersey’s assisted suicide law is a bad public policy that leaves many New Jersey residents at risk of abuse and coercion. The temporary restraining order issued, which prevents the policy from going into effect, is a welcome reassessment of a law that threatens the lives of the poor, older people, the terminally ill, and people with disabilities. New Jersey deserves better end-of-life-care, not assisted suicide.”

New Jersey works on a system where a bill must achieve 41 votes in the Assembly to pass and 21 votes in the Senate to pass, regardless of how many votes are cast against it. Advocates of the assisted suicide measure received the bare minimum in each chamber to pass it.

New Jersey pro-life advocates fought legalization valiantly for six years but euthanasia supporters finally obtained enough votes for the bill.

Patients Rights Action Fund’s Executive Director, Matt Valliere told LifeNews he was disappointed by the news ion comments after the legislature approved the bill.

“With the signing of this bill to legalize assisted suicide, many vulnerable New Jerseyans are now at risk of deadly harm through mistakes, coercion, and abuse. People with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, and terminally ill patients are at greatest risk – dangerous public policies often ignore the voices of the vulnerable,” he said. “They are already at a disadvantage when they try to gain equal access to healthcare, and this law will only increase the challenges they face.”

He added: “In other states where assisted suicide is legal, it has proven impossible to regulate and leaves the door wide open for abuse and coercion. New Jersey ought to be investing in better care and support at the end of life, not enshrining this dangerous public policy into law.”

New Jersey Right to Life actively worked against the legislation, and noted how thw Senate president actively worked to get the dangerous measure approved.

“The bill was released from Committee by a vote of 6-3, with one Senator not voting. Senate President Sweeney replaced two members of the committee who previously Voted No on the bill with himself and Senator Scutari who is a sponsor of the bill to ensure there would be enough Yes votes for the bill to pass out of Committee,” the group said. “Testimony on the bill was limited to only one hour with each witness provided only two minutes to make their case. Many physicians, disability advocates and key people who signed up to give testimony did not get a chance to do so.”

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The group also warned of numerous problems associated with the workings of the proposed law.

“Proponents claim that this is an issue of personal choice and that those who object to assisted suicide don’t have to utilize it, but taxpayers will be forced to pay for it through NJ’s Medicaid program which is a state taxpayer funded program,” it said. “This means that all taxpayers will be complicit in funding state sanctioned physician assisted suicide if this bill becomes law.”

It added: “Laws should not be passed for the few who want them, but consideration should be given to how it will affect the greater population, especially individuals who are most vulnerable to abuse of such a law.”

“This legislation is bad public policy for New Jersey,” it continued. “It threatens the doctor-patient relationship because it will turn physicians who are meant to be healers into agents of death, who will act directly to cause the death of patient. As we have seen in other states where assisted suicide is legal, health insurance companies (including medicaid providers) who are always looking to cut costs will deny patients treatments to save and sustain their lives, but instead offer assisted suicide drugs because it is cheaper to do so. The “so-called” safeguards in the bill are hollow and do not protect the patient. In addition, the bill grants complete immunity to everyone but the patient. It also involves third parties in the decision making process (including those who are not “capable” of personally communicating their wishes ) and is a recipe for abuse, especially for the elderly and disabled populations.”

On the pro-euthanasia side, Compassion and Choices launched a $1 million sustained digital video ad campaign featuring terminally ill advocates and their loved ones urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass the bill.