Terminally ill adults in New Jersey will now be able to ask for medical help to end their lives.
In April, Gov. Phil Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. It goes into effect Thursday.
Currently, California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Hawaii, Montana and the District of Columbia allow physician-assisted suicide.
The law requires either a psychiatrist or psychologist determine that the patient has the mental capacity to make the decision. The prescription is a series of self-administered pills that can be taken at home.
“Allowing residents with terminal illnesses to make end-of-life choices for themselves is the right thing to do,” Murphy said in a statement.
’Lots of loopholes’
Murphy hasn’t announced when he will sign the bill into law.
Sponsors of the legislation are happy that the people of New Jersey are going to be given more options with their end-of-life care. “This seems to be something New Jersey residents care about,” said Democratic Assemblyman John Burzichelli.
“We’ve heard lots of stories over the years because they didn’t have another avenue to get help.”
The bill narrowly passed in the Senate, and some who voted against it are apprehensive about its effects.
“The bill has lasting ramifications and lots of loopholes,” said Republican Sen. Robert Singer. “We are so concerned about opioids, and not trusting doctors with opioids. But now we are willing to trust them with this.”
New Jersey legislators have tried passing versions of this bill since 2014, but this was the first time the bill went to a vote in the Senate.
At least 19 other states are considering physician-assisted suicide bills.