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Physician-Assisted Suicide Measure Passes NJ Assembly

Generic Hospital Bed File Photo (credit: CBS 2)

Generic Hospital Bed File Photo (credit: CBS 2)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – The New Jersey State Assembly has voted in favor of physician-assisted suicide.

The measure passed by a vote of 7-2 with two abstentions.

The Death with Dignity Act would allow terminally ill patients to be prescribed medication that would end their lives.

Under the measure, the lethal medication would only be made available to patients who are told by two doctors that they have six months or less to live.

WEB EXTRARead The Bill (pdf)

Patients must be capable of making an informed decision of whether to die, according to the bill.

Supporters said the proposal to allow patients to self-administer lethal medication allows the terminally ill the choice to die humanely.

Several opponents of the bill testified before the Assembly, calling the proposal unethical. Some opponents said there are many cases where patients are given just six months to live but end up living for years.

The measure was co-sponsored by Assemblymen John J. Burzichelli, who represents Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem and Timothy J. Eustace, who represents Bergen and Passaic.

The same bill has been introduced in the New Jersey State Senate.

The bill’s sponsors in the Assembly said current state statutes are outdated and noted that their measure is similar to bills under consideration in other states.

Earlier this week, Connecticut State Sen. Ed Meyer of Guilford introduced a bill that would allow physician-assisted suicide in the state.

Currently, Montana, Oregon and Washington are the only states that permit physician-assisted suicide.

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