New Jersey considers 'right to die' bill for the third time in 6 years

The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that would give terminally ill people a legal means to take their own life.

David Madden
September 29, 2018 - 10:00 pm
New Jersey Capitol

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TRENTON, NJ (KYW Newsradio) -- The New Jersey legislature is considering a bill that would give terminally ill people a legal means to take their own life. 
    
It’s an issue that’s been considered in the state twice before, but both times it never got past the state senate.
    
“I’m confident that the votes are not only in the Assembly but now there are sufficient votes in the Senate,” Assembly sponsor John Burzichelli (D-Paulsboro), told KYW Newsradio. “So the ability to get this to the governor’s desk is very high.”
    
The bill would allow terminally ill adults of sound mind to obtain drugs they could take to hasten their demise. No patient, doctor or pharmacist would be required to participate.
    
Susan Boyce is from Rumson, Monmouth County. The 55-year-old woman suffers from a rare and terminal lung disease with has left her with about 30% lung capacity. While she copes with an oxygen tank and assistance from her family, Boyce insists she wants the option to die at a time of her choosing.
    
“I would very much like to have the knowledge and the comfort that I have control over the late stages of the very, very end of my life,” she said.
    
Seven other states and the District of Columbia already have so-called “right to die” laws and New Jersey’s proposal is based on modeled on those measures. A recent Rutgers-Eagleton poll also shows an over 2-to-1 margin of people in favor of the concept, a fact not lost on Corrine Carey with Compassion and Choices, an organization working to get the measure approved.
    
“I think people recognize that this is an issue that you can support no matter what side of the aisle you sit on, no matter what your religion is,” she said. “Really it spans the human experience.”
    
Burzichelli insists it’s about personal choice at a very critical time in one’s life.
    
“The law should reflect an individual’s right to make end of life choices that best suit them and serve their conscience, their dignity and their family,” he added.
    
He estimates the bill will be acted on in the Assembly in October with Senate action timed to get the measure to Murphy for his consideration before the end of the year.