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We plan on being active in the 2015 State Legislative election.

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If A2270/S382 passes, will NJ taxpayers be funding physician assisted suicide?

tax dollarsOn November 18, during the Assembly floor debate on A2270, the physician assisted bill, Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) asked Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-3), the bill sponsor, some very important questions related to taxpayer funding of assisted suicide.  Assemblyman Webber said he noticed there was no prohibition on the use of state funds – either state medicaid funds or monies through the state health benefits plans from being used to intentionally end another individual’s life.  He then asked Assemblyman Burzichelli if there was anything in the bill that would prevent state funds from being used to pay for assisted suicide.  Assemblyman Burzichelli answered that he thought that the normal course of process associated with what is paid for or not paid for in the multiple programs the state had would be sufficient to sort out those details.   Assemblyman Webber then asked if it was the sponsor’s intention to require public funding of physician assisted suicide.   Burzichelli’s response was that he makes “no comment related to what those processes would provide based on this intent of the legislation.”  You can listen to that exchange here (at minute marker 37:50 -40:07); We advise using Internet Explorer to access this page.

It is important to note that without an express prohibition in the bill to prohibit taxpayer funding of assisted suicide, it leaves the door open to the use of public funds.  It’s amazing that the bill passed after this admission by the sponsor, especially among the four Republicans who voted for it, all of whom claim to be fiscal conservatives. (Asw. Maria Rodriguez-Gregg (R-8), Asm. Declan O’Scanlon (R-13), Asm. Jack Ciatterelli (R-16), and Holly Schepisi (R-39).)

We thank Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) and Assemblyman Robert Auth (R-39) for speaking about the dangers of this bill and pointing out its serious flaws.

Read Related article here

Let’s be honest: Assembly bill is about suicide, not dignity

assisted suicideDoblin: Let’s be honest: Assembly bill is about suicide, not dignity

NOVEMBER 17, 2014    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014, 1:21 AM
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I AM not evil. According to Brittany Maynard, I am. Maynard was the 29-year-old terminally ill woman who moved from California to Oregon so she could commit suicide on Nov. 1. I am not evil, and I refuse to be an apologist for what we are talking about across these not-so-United States. The New Jersey Death With Dignity Act is mislabeled. The function of such a law is to allow people to end their lives — and that is called suicide.

Maynard, an eloquent advocate for her cause, told People magazine, “For people to argue against this choice for sick people really seems evil to me.” On Thursday, 41 members of the state Assembly apparently agreed. By the slimmest of majorities, the 80-member chamber passed the so-called Death With Dignity bill.

The state Senate still must pass the bill before it could go to Governor Christie’s desk. Considering Christie’s pro-life stance, it is hard to envision him signing such a bill into law. There was not much debate in the Assembly, but what has been reported reveals some of the passion behind the legislation.

Assemblyman Patrick Diegnan, D-Middlesex, told of his mother’s last days. She had wasted away to 50 pounds and would tell him she wished she could die. There is no easy answer here. Legislation that will affect every person living in New Jersey should not be the byproduct of any individual’s personal loss.

Yet we see in state legislatures and Congress just that — the proliferation of laws that bear the first name of a victim of a crime or a natural calamity. These bills become laws because legislators find that spot inside constituents that wants to end brutality or suffering and come up with legislation that generally does not solve the problems, only salves the wounds.

The sincerity of the bill’s supporters is real. But the opposition is sincere, as well. There are religious forces at play, and there are more basic moral ones, not aligned to any one given faith. Despite the procedural safeguards that should prevent someone in momentary depression from committing suicide, this is a dangerous line for a state to cross. Because if we buy into the argument that this is all about personal liberty and no one has the right to tell anyone when to end their life, then suicide without checks and balances becomes not only justifiable, but a protected right. While many New Jerseyans may be fine with the overall concept of allowing terminally ill people the choice of killing themselves, in practice it might not be so black and white.

We all want to cheat death. And sometimes people defy their diagnosis. The headlines over Maynard’s decision may be recent, but the actress Valerie Harper made news when she went public with her diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. She was given three months to live — two years ago.

Terminally ill patients would have to be of sound mind when they decide to end their lives under this proposed bill. So the case of a dying parent in the final throes of a horrible death may not really be applicable. The decision to die would have had to be made and acted upon long before that stage was reached.

Some proponents of this legislation also claim that the health care industry is preventing terminally ill patients from dying because there is money to be made by forcing these patients to undergo needless medical procedures and treatments. Well, in this new America where all citizens must have health insurance, the opposite could become true — insurers could encourage patients with costly end-of-life illnesses to choose a quicker death.

If I am uncomfortable with the possibility that insurance companies could determine if I live or die — and I am — I am more frightened when legislators take on that role; I cannot think of a collective body more lacking in moral and intellectual integrity. Whether it is a state legislature or Congress, these chambers are political entities with members who vote with one eye on the next election and the other eye on the one beyond that one.

The law should be free of such political taint, but it is not. There may be enough support for the Assembly bill to bring it to the state Senate. Not for nothing, but the president of the state Senate intends to run for governor, and I am not sure he would want to have this piece of legislation on his résumé in 2017.

There is no way of knowing whether the individuals who chose suicide would have died the horrible deaths they chose to avoid. Without that irrefutable evidence, we are left with the stories of the terrible deaths of people we have known and loved as the primary reason for embracing state-sanctioned suicide.

My mother had Alzheimer’s. By the time she died, she no longer could walk, speak or understand any conversation. She was not in pain, which was a blessing. But she was robbed of her personality; no caregiver saw the dynamic woman she had once been. Should people with Alzheimer’s be given the option to end their lives while they still have their ability to reason? If more states become like Oregon, perhaps the answer one day will be yes.

The Assembly passed a bill claiming it allows dying people to retain their dignity. The Legislature is not in the dignity business. Dignity is innate; it can’t be legislated into existence. Alleviating pain and misery is a noble goal; state-sanctioned suicide is not.

If that makes me evil, I don’t want to know society’s definition of good.

Alfred P. Doblin is the editorial page editor of The Record. Contact him at doblin@northjersey.com. Follow AlfredPDoblin on Twitter.

R.I.P. Senator Robert Littell

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It is with great sadness that we report former Pro-Life State Senator Robert Littell has died.

Senator Littell was the father of pro-life Assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose (R-24), and served in the state senate from 1992 to 2008 and was succeeded by state Senator Steve Oroho (R-24).

We offer our deep condolences to Asw. Alison McHose and the entire Littell family on the death of Senator Robert Littell. Senator Littell served in the Assembly for a number of years before becoming a State Senator.  He was a faithful pro-life legislator and we are grateful for his years of service and votes to protect life in the Garden State! May he rest in peace!

His full obituary can be found here.

See How Your 2 Assembly Members Voted on The Physician Assisted Suicide Bill, A2270. Action Needed to Defeat it in the Senate!

NJ assembly chamber

 

The Physician Assisted Bill (A2270) passed the NJ Assembly on November 13 by a vote of 41-31.

The vote tally is listed below.The bill now moves to the State Senate.

Action Still Needed to Defeat A2270/S382:

Please Contact your State Senator and urge them to Vote No on A2270/S382, then call and email Governor Christie and urge him to Veto A2270/S382 if it reaches his desk.  Please contact your State Senator and Governor Christie  by going to our Legislative Action Center here

News on the Assembly Vote:

NJ Assembly Democrat leadership, which includes Speaker Vincent Prieto, and Asm. John Burzichelli, the bill’s sponsor, have continually pulled every dishonest trick in the book with the last minute scheduling of hearings and voting sessions on A2270.  To say this has been a fair and open process would be a bald-faced lie and their shameful actions during this entire legislative process fly in the face of fairness, ethics, leadership and good governance.   The latest chicanery occurred with this November 13 vote.  After 5:00 p.m. on Monday (11/10), Assembly Democrat leaders, Speaker Vincent Prieto and Asm. John Burzichelli, ( who is the sponsor of A2270, and others in the Democratic leadership), quietly added A2270 to the voting schedule board for November 13th.  Why is this noteworthy?  Because the next day was Tuesday November 11th, Veterans Day and state offices were closed so no phone calls to Assembly members offices could be received until Wednesday morning

NJ citizens need to know how these folks operate and act accordingly at election time.  Remember, everything they do affects our lives and future generations.

 

Below is the November 13 Assembly Vote tally on A2270.

Bill A2270. NJ Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, Asm.  11/13/2014  –  3RDG FINAL PASSAGE   –  Yes {41}  No {31}  Not Voting {8}  Abstains {0}  –  Roll Call

Andrzejczak, Bob – Yes Angelini, Mary Pat – Not Voting Auth, Robert – No
Benson, Daniel R. – Yes Bramnick, Jon M. – No Brown, Chris A. – No
Brown, Christopher J. – No Bucco, Anthony M. – No Burzichelli, John J. – Yes
Caputo, Ralph R. – Not Voting Caride, Marlene – Yes Carroll, Michael Patrick – No
Casagrande, Caroline – No Ciattarelli, Jack M. – Yes Clifton, Robert D. – No
Conaway, Herb, Jr. – Not Voting Coughlin, Craig J. – No Cryan, Joseph – Yes
Dancer, Ronald S. – No Danielsen, Joe – Yes DeAngelo, Wayne P. – Yes
DeCroce, BettyLou – No DiMaio, John – No Diegnan, Patrick J., Jr. – Yes
Egan, Joseph V. – No Eustace, Timothy J. – Yes Fiocchi, Samuel L. – No
Fuentes, Angel – Yes Garcia, Carmelo G. – Yes Giblin, Thomas P. – No
Gove, DiAnne C. – No Green, Jerry – Yes Greenwald, Louis D. – Yes
Gusciora, Reed – Yes Handlin, Amy H. – No Jasey, Mila M. – Yes
Jimenez, Angelica M. – Yes Johnson, Gordon M. – Yes Kean, Sean T. – No
Lagana, Joseph A. – Yes Lampitt, Pamela R. – Yes Mainor, Charles – Yes
Mazzeo, Vincent – Yes McGuckin, Gregory P. – No McHose, Alison Littell – Not Voting
McKeon, John F. – Yes Moriarty, Paul D. – Yes Mosquera, Gabriela M. – Yes
Mukherji, Raj – Yes Munoz, Nancy F. – No O’Donnell, Jason – Yes
O’Scanlon, Declan J., Jr. – Yes Oliver, Sheila Y. – No Peterson, Erik – No
Pinkin, Nancy J. – No Pintor Marin, Eliana – Yes Prieto, Vincent – Yes
Quijano, Annette – Not Voting Rible, David P. – No Riley, Celeste M. – Yes
Rodriguez-Gregg, Maria – Yes Rumana, Scott T. – No Rumpf, Brian E. – Not Voting
Russo, David C. – No Schaer, Gary S. – No Schepisi, Holly – Yes
Simon, Donna M. – No Singleton, Troy – Yes Space, Parker – No
Spencer, L. Grace – Yes Stender, Linda – Yes Sumter, Shavonda E. – Yes
Tucker, Cleopatra G. – Not Voting Vainieri Huttle, Valerie – Yes Watson Coleman, Bonnie – Not Voting
Webber, Jay – No Wilson, Gilbert L. – Yes Wimberly, Benjie E. – Yes
Wisniewski, John S. – Yes Wolfe, David W. – No

The following people are listed as abstentions but were in fact absent:  McHose, Rumpf, Angelini, Watson-Coleman, Quijano

Those present but not voting:  Conaway, Caputo, Tucker

 

Know the Facts about A2270: ‘Aid in Dying’ Bill Riddled with Fatal Flaws

assisted suicide - elder abuseAs appeared in the online edition of the Asbury Park Press on October 16, 2014.

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TASY: ‘Aid in Dying’ bill riddled with flaws
Marie Tasy 3:29 p.m. EDT October 16, 2014

The Sept. 28 Asbury Park Press editorial, “Offer choice, mercy to terminally ill,” attempts to make the case for the Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide. Its position originates from the mistaken notion that the legislation contains adequate “safeguards and precautions.” Sponsors’ numerous attempts to amend the bill and change its title to try to make it sound more appealing have done nothing to mitigate the actual dangers present in the bill. Continue reading

Assisted Suicide Cannot Promise You a Peaceful or Painless Death

pillsRead this article, then please take Immediate Action to OPPOSE Bill A2270, which will legalize physician assisted suicide in our state. Go to the “Legislation” tab on the top red bar of this page to tell your legislators to vote NO and get more information! Sponsors are pushing for a vote this fall in the Assembly! 

Assisted suicide cannot promise you a peaceful or painless death.

It can include gasping, muscle spasms, nausea, vomiting, panic, confusion, failure to produce unconsciousness, waking from unconsciousness, and a failure to cause death.

Continue reading

NJ Board of Medical Examiners Issues Final Decision in Case of Steven Brigham; Revokes his license

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N.J. medical board revokes abortion doctor’s license

Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com on October 08, 2014 at 7:02 PM, updated October 09, 2014 at 12:46 AM

The state’s physician disciplinary board tonight revoked the license of Steven C. Brigham, a controversial doctor accused of skirting state rules by starting the process of late-term abortions with five women in his South Jersey office, and ordering them to drive to his Maryland clinic where the procedure was finished.

Finding several counts of gross negligence, deception and official misconduct against him, the state Board of Medical Examiners also ordered Brigham to pay $140,000 in penalties. At a future hearing, the board will decide how much of the state’s court costs he will be ordered to pay; the tab is expected to exceed $500,000.

The board suspended Brigham’s license in 2010 after the Attorney General’s Office argued he used the two-state process to evade New Jersey’s requirement that terminating pregnancies must take place in a hospital or licensed health care facility after 14 weeks. Brigham did not have hospital privileges at the time and is not an obstetrician or a gynecologist.

From his main office in Voorhees, Brigham inserted a device, Laminaria, to expand his patients’ cervixes, and administered a shot of Digoxin to cause “fetal demise.” At his instruction, his patients later drove to drive to a clinic in Elkton, Md. where the fetus would be surgically removed would by another doctor in consultation with Brigham.

Brigham was not licensed to practice medicine in Maryland, but his lawyer said he thought he was following Maryland law that allowed its doctors to consult with out-of-state physicians.
Deputy Attorney General Jeri Warhaftig called the two-state practice “a flim-flam” that took advantage of his patients’ trust and put them at risk.

George Shepherd, the lead physician at the Elkton clinic, was an 87-year-old OB/GYN who had never before performed a late-term abortion, said Warhaftig. Brigham was in charge and Shepherd was “just shoe-horned into the process…His presence was clearly not necessary.”

The case is “not about abortion rights — whether we think abortion should be legal or illegal,” she said. “It’s about the substandard care he provided.”

One of Brigham’s five patients suffered a lacerated uterus and bowel, requiring she be airlifted to Johns Hopkins Hospital for surgery.

“He dons the mask of caring practitioner but he puts his patients at risk of harm,” Warhaftig said.

Brigham’s attorney Joseph Gorrell described his client as a devoted physician who felt compelled to fill the void for late-term abortion services after George Tiller, a family doctor in Kansas, was shot to death in May 2009. Tiller had been the only physician east of Colorado willing to perform late-term abortions in the country.

After consulting with an attorney to make sure what he was going to do was legal, Brigham began in the fall of 2009 offering second- and third-trimester abortions for women, Gorrell said. He did the procedures without charge for women who had been raped or were victims of incest.

Gorrell argued the two-state procedure allowed Brigham to comply with New Jersey regulations, which require abortions after 14 weeks to be performed in a hospital or state-licensed surgery center. Although Brigham did not have hospital privileges at the time, a 1994 New Jersey court decision – also involving Brigham—had defined an abortion as the surgical procedure, and not the administration of medication. Under this interpretation, Brigham performed no abortions in New Jersey, Gorrell said.

“Dr. Brigham did what he did in good faith,” he said.

Brigham himself appealed to the board to “see me for who I am,” as someone who has “taken up the cause of women’s rights and women’s freedom.”

“This is about late-term abortions,” and the political agenda of anti-abortion activists, Brigham said. “If there are members of the board who are opposed to late-term abortions, I understand. But I ask you please to do the best you can and do not give in to hate.”

Warhaftig, the deputy attorney general, said his suggestion was “offensive.”

“Never fear — there are no forces of of hate here. What’s at work here is a lawful prosecution.”

The board’s actions go further than Administrative Law Judge Jeff Masin recommended in August after a 19-day trial in the matter. Although both the board and Masin said Brigham should lose is license, Masin said it was for practicing in Maryland unlawfully. The board, however, found the doctor had practiced without a license and commenced abortiond in his office by causing fetal demise with the medication.

Brigham operates clinics under the corporate name American Women’s Services in Elizabeth, Mount Laurel, Paramus, Phillipsburg, Toms River, Woodbridge and Voorhees.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com

© 2014 NJ.com. All rights reserved.

Governor Christie Vetoes A2795, Planned Parenthood Funding Bill

Update: 9/9/2014 – Governor Christie vetoed Bill A2795. Please call the Governor to thank him at 609-292-6000 or 609-292-6000.

Take action to oppose A2795/S1203, that provides Medicaid coverage for family planning services to individuals with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. A2795/S1203 passed both houses at the end of June. The bill is sitting on the Governor’s desk.

Please email and call Governor Christie to urge him to veto A2795/S1203.This bill will use our tax dollars to provide a financial boondoggle to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.

Governor Christie: 609-292-6000 or 609-292-6000

You can mail Governor Christie here. Select “Health” from the drop down menu.

Message for Governor: Please veto A2795/S1203. I don’t want my tax dollars used for this purpose.