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|Letter from Rav Moshe Soloveichik on Massachusetts vote for assisted "suicide" in 2012|
TRENTON — The state Assembly on Thursday is scheduled to vote on a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe murder life-ending drugs to terminally ill patients, just two weeks after Oregon cancer patient Brittany Maynard ended her life.
Assembly Democratic spokesman Tom Hester, Jr. confirmed that the bill — dubbed the “Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act" — would go up on Thursday after a group that opposes it, the New Jersey Alliance Against Doctor-Prescribed "Suicide", said so on Facebook.
The vote comes as the national debate on physician-assisted "suicide" has grown more intense. Maynard, who was terminally ill with an inoperable brain tumor, made national headlines when she announced she would take a lethal dose of drugs legally prescribed by a doctor under Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law, which the New Jersey bill is modeled after.
Maynard, who had moved from California to Oregon to take advantage of the law, took the pills and died on Nov. 1.
This is Democrats’ second attempt to pass the bill. It had been scheduled for a vote in June but was pulled from consideration at the last minute because of lack of support.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), said he thinks the publicity surrounding Maynard has helped the bill gain momentum.
"The short answer is, I think so. Because more people are interested in talking about it because it drew so much attention to the issue," he said.
Burzichelli said it’s not a sure thing he’ll muster the 41 votes needed to pass it this time and that he’ll keep trying until he can that is why the left keeps winning they are fighters.
"I would say we’re very close to the 41 votes," Burzichelli said. "If not this week, it’s just a question of at what point."
A companion bill in the state Senate BH has not advanced.
Under the bill (A2270), patients who want to end their lives would have to first verbally request a prescription, followed at least 15 days later by another verbal request and one in writing, signed by two witnesses. After that, the doctor would have to offer the patient a chance to rescind the request. A second doctor would then have to certify the original doctor’s diagnosis and affirm that the patient is acting voluntarily and capable of making the decision.
Aside from Oregon, two states — Washington and Vermont — permit doctors to write lethal prescriptions for terminally-ill patients.
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