Judge Halts NJ Assisted Suicide Law

Judge halts N.J.’s Aid in Dying law

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the "Aid in Dying" law in April allowing terminally ill people to obtain a prescription to end their lives.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed the “Aid in Dying” law in April allowing terminally ill people to obtain a prescription to end their lives.

A state judge has granted a request to stop New Jersey’s “aid in dying” law from taking effect, preventing any physician from writing a lethal prescription for terminally ill patients to end their lives.

State Superior Court Judge Paul Innes, sitting in Mercer County, granted the temporary restraining order Wednesday at the request of a physician from Bergen County who opposes the law for religious and professional reasons, said E. David Smith of Bloomfield, the physician’s attorney.

The law took effect on August 1, but required a two-week waiting period before a physician could fill a patient’s prescription. That two-week period would have come due Friday, Smith said.

“We wanted to put a stop to it,” Smith said.

The law passed after eight years of legislative hearings, and aggressively fought by religious leaders and disability advocates who said elderly and sick people would feel compelled to end their lives so as not to burden their families. But the right-to-die movement gained momentum after Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old California woman with terminal brain cancer, publicized her decision to relocate to Oregon for its aid-in-dying law and avoid the the final and most painful stage of her disease in 2014.

The legislation stalled while Gov. Chris Christie was in office, but Gov. Phil Murphy, who was sworn-in in January 2018, signed the law four months ago.

“This was a really hard one for me, particularly given growing up as a Catholic,” the governor added. “This was not an easy one to get to. But I got convinced that it shouldn’t be the law that dictates how things end. That it should be you and your loved ones.”

The restraining order is in effect until at least the next court date, scheduled for Oct. 23, according to court documents.

Smith predicted that would not be enough time for the state to write and seek public comment on the regulations required to carry out the law.

Doctors are not mandated to participate, but they are required if they refuse to aid a patient’s death to refer patients to another physician. As a physician and orthodox Jew, Grossman said he could not condone any participation, even if it involved transferring a patient’s file, Smith said.

Grossman believes “the right to human life is sacred and should not be taken under any circumstances,” Smith said.

The law applies to adults who have received a terminal diagnosis — defined as an incurable, irreversible and medically confirmed disease that will end the person’s life within six months.

The written declaration must be witnessed by two people who attest that the patient is acting voluntarily. One of the two witnesses cannot be a person who stands to financially gain from the patient’s death or the patient’s doctor or nursing home employee.

State Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, the law’s prime sponsor, said he was “surprised” by the challenge. “The work we did was carefully structured with guidance from others,” he said.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, issued a statement thanking the doctor for “challenging this terribly misguided law which is both incompatible with a physician’s role as healer and clearly a danger to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Tasy noted the legislation would never have passed the Senate health committee had Democratic leaders not substituted members that daywho opposed the bill.

NJ Advance Media staff writers Brent Johnson and S.P. Sullivancontributed to this report.

This is a breaking story. More information will be reported later in the day.

The state Health Department has created this webpage explaining the 

NJ Assisted Suicide law goes into effect 8/1/19 – A Truly Sad Day for the Garden State

Note to our website visitors:

Below is an article on NJ’s Assisted Suicide law which goes into effect on 8/1/19.  At the urging of the pro-death lobbying group, Compassion & Choices, sponsors of the legislation agreed to change the title of  the legislation to the “NJ Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act” to make it more palatable and marketable to the public. In reality, the Act legalizes Assisted Suicide and does not  “Aid”  in anyone’s “Dying,” rather, it hastens a person’s death and is intended to do so.

In addition, the NJ Assisted Suicide law’s “so-called” safeguards are hollow. The Act is riddled with loopholes which are a recipe for abuse.  Contrary to media reports, this law does not give patients complete autonomy and is especially dangerous for our most vulnerable populations.  The legislation passed by the narrowest of margins (by only one vote) in each of the Houses of the NJ Legislature.

Shortly after the bill narrowly passed both Houses of the Legislature by the slimmest of margins, Asm. Robert Auth (R-39)  introduced A5525, a bill to Repeal the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act and A5469, a bill which makes it a crime of the first degree to coerce a patient to request medication pursuant to the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, or to forge a patient’s request for such medication.

Action Needed: We are grateful to Assemblyman Auth and the legislators who co-sponsored these bills and ask that you contact your State Senator and two Assembly Members to urge them to support and co-sponsor A5525 and A5469.  Thank you.

How did your Two State Assembly Members Vote? Click on the red hyperlink below to find out

A1504/S1072 Assembly Vote

How did your State Senator vote?  Click on red hyperlink below to find out 

A1504/S1072 Senate Vote

 

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NJ doctors can help terminally ill patients die beginning today

Stacey Barchenger, North Jersey RecordPublished 5:06 a.m. ET Aug. 1, 2019

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill making New Jersey the eighth state to allow terminally ill residents to end their lives with medical help. Michael V. Pettigano and Nicholas Pugliese, North Jersey Record

Janet Colbert made talking about death, a taboo topic, a normal part of her life.

When the retired oncology nurse received her own diagnosis — it was a rare form of liver cancer — in 2013, she began advocating that doctors should be allowed to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients.

It was an option she wanted for herself.

“I feel that it would just give me so much more peace of mind,” Colbert said in 2015, just months before her death.

Today, four years later, it becomes legal for New Jersey doctors to prescribe lethal medication to patients with less than six months to live. New Jersey is one of eight states that allow what is called medically assisted suicide or medical aid in dying, depending on what side of the controversial issue you are on.

Even as advocates welcome the law for which they’ve fought for years, and declare victory for patients’ rights, there remains uncertainty within the medical profession about carrying it out.

The state boards that license doctors, pharmacists, mental health professionals and others have yet to implement regulations called for in the law. It wasn’t until late Wednesday afternoon that the New Jersey Department of Health published requirements for doctors, who must report information such as when prescriptions are issued and when patients die from them.

“It is a life-or-death issue,” said Larry Downs, chief executive officer of the Medical Society of New Jersey, which opposed the law on ethical grounds. “Physicians would probably be wise to wait for that regulatory guidance before deciding to engage in it.”

Supporters say the law is detailed enough to allow doctors to proceed, and there are doctors who are on board, but that doesn’t mean prescriptions will be written today. The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which oversees the regulatory boards, says rule-making isn’t required before the law goes into effect. Meanwhile, multiple hospital and medical associations have published extensive guidance for health care professionals.

“There are going to be doctors ready to practice on Day One, and there are going to be doctors who — it may take a patient who they’ve treated for along time to present a compelling case for them to use this law,” said Corinne Carey, who led advocacy for the New Jersey law and works for Compassion & Choices.

Other doctors, she said, may wait for additional guidance from state agencies.

What the law says

Janet Colbert has been diagnosed with a form of liver cancer sure to kill her. She’d like to see the Aid in Dying bill passed so she could end her life if her condition became unbearable. (Photo: Andrew Ford)

Formally called the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, the law comes with extensive rules and a waiting period meant to ensure that patients make informed, voluntary decisions about ending their lives.

The law stalled at least twice before in the Legislature. Supporters say sick people should have a right to end their suffering on their own terms, while opponents worry over what they say is a lack of safeguards to protect vulnerable residents. There is debate within the medical community over ethical implications of helping patients die, and religious leaders have also opposed the law.

“I think some leaders in religious communities want to paint this as patients are giving up hope,” said Susan Boyce, a 56-year-old Rumson resident and supporter of the law. Boyce suffers from an auto-immune disease that reduces her lung function.

“We are all fighting and living our lives as full as we can,” she said. “This isn’t hopelessness; this is just the desire to not suffer that last little bit that we don’t want to suffer through.

“It’s a very narrow bill. It has tight rails on it to keep it from being abused.”

Which patients qualify

Susan Boyce of Rumson, who suffers from Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, talks about what it means to her that the legislature has passed the Medical Aid in Dying bill Danielle Parhizkaran, NorthJersey

Patients with less than six months to live can request the medication. According to the law, two doctors must confirm the diagnosis of a terminal illness and that patients are capable of making a sound decision to end their lives.

Patients must be residents of New Jersey. They have to make two requests for life-ending medication at least 15 days apart, and also submit a written request that includes witness signatures.

Behind-the-scenes preparation

When Gov. Phil Murphy put pen to paper and signed the law, he also cued state agencies and health care associations and companies to roll out guidance on how to implement it.

“We knew there was a relatively short window until the enactment date,” said Theresa Edelstein, vice president of post-acute care policy and special initiatives for the New Jersey Hospital Association. “It’s been a process where we started with some basics, the explanation of the law, the summary of the law, and just started to build upon it.”

Now the hospital association has extensive resources online, including sample forms for doctors and patients and draft policies for health care professionals who opt out. The new law does not obligate doctors to prescribe lethal medication.

It’s uncertain how many doctors will act on the law — no prescriptions can be issued for at least 15 days — and it’s up to the Department of Health to collect reports from doctors about prescriptions that are issued and the number of deaths that result.

Doctors themselves are divided. A group of more than two dozen wrote in support of the law in a post on NJ.com earlier this year. Other doctors are vocal opponents.

“Assisted suicide deeply undermines the physician/patient relationship and runs counter to the physician’s oath as a healer,” Dr. Matthew Suh, a general surgery specialist in Newton, said in a statement.

Following others’ lead

New Jersey joins seven other states and Washington, D.C., in allowing doctors to write deadly prescriptions. Maine is the most recent state to approve a law, and Oregon was first, according to the Death with Dignity National Center, an Oregon-based advocacy group.

In July, the Oregon law was amended and the 15-day waiting period was removed over concern that it caused patients in deteriorating condition to suffer for longer. Over time, states have seen increasing participation, but the number of people who take lethal medication remains minuscule. Check out the chart below to learn more.

Enduring controversy

Oregon’s law has been challenged twice before the U.S. Supreme Court since it was enacted in 1994.

While other states have seen court action, none has been taken in New Jersey. Instead, opposition is coming from inside the Statehouse, where lawmakers in both the Senate and Assembly eked out — by one vote — enough support to pass the bill in March.

Four Republican assemblymen are backing a bill that would repeal the law.

Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Bergen, introduced the bill in June alongside co-sponsors Parker Space, R-Sussex; Ronald Dancer, R-Ocean; and John DiMaio, R-Warren. Auth expressed concern that nefarious individuals would exploit the law and encourage patients to take the medication for their own gain, even though the new law includes rules to prevent that.

Garden State lawmakers, however, are off for the summer, and with Democratic majorities in the Legislature, it is unlikely the effort to repeal will go anywhere soon.

Auth raised concern that oversight bodies such as the Board of Medical Examiners haven’t yet issued guidance on complying with the law.

“There’s no protocol in place by the state,” Auth said. “It’s kind of like the wild wild west.”

Stacey Barchenger: @sbarchenger; 732-427-0114; sbarchenger@gannettnj.com

 

 

72nd Newborn Saved Through NJ Safe Haven Law Renews Push for Education Legislation – Take Action to save more lives!

Bill A1380/S1126 passed both Houses of the Legislature and is sitting on Governor Murphy’s desk awaiting his signature.  Please urge the Governor to sign this bill into law so more babies can be saved through the NJ Save Haven Infant Protection program.  Learn more about the NJ Save Haven Infant Protection Act    HERE

The phone # for the Governor’s office is below.

Governor Murphy:  609 292 6000

Newborn saved through Safe Haven law renews push for education legislation

Protect the Religious Employer Exemption in NJ Health Insurance Plans. Take Action!

S3804/A5508 is part of a package of bills that the Governor and the legislature are supporting to create a New Jersey version of the federal Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010.

Unfortunately, the bills would expand insurance coverage for abortion inducing drugs. The bill also removes the exemption in current law for religious employers to provide coverage for female contraceptives if the required coverage conflicts with the religious employer’s bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

Please go to our Legislative Action Tab and take the directed action to prevent this bill from becoming law.  Thank you.

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Title X Rule, Planned Parenthood has to separate facilities from those that do abortions

 

By Susan K. Livio | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Family planning and women’s health clinics across the country that accept a federal grant to serve low-income people are forbidden from discussing abortion with their patients, according to a federal court decision Thursday that upheld a controversial rule proposed by the Trump administration.

Planned Parenthood, which led the fight against what it is calling a gag rule, intends to challenge the decision.

The rule takes effect immediately, but none of the 77,000 low-income New Jerseyans who use Planned Parenthood’s clinics will see any change, said Casey Olesko, spokeswoman for the Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central, and Southern New Jersey and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey.
Planned Parenthood will not take the Title X funding while the rule is in effect, Olesko said.

“For patients here in New Jersey, nothing will be changing,” she said. “We are using some limited some emergency funds so we are not using any of the tainted money. That would be medically unethical and we would never fall in line with the gag rule.”

Clinics already are prohibited from using Title X grants to pay for abortions. But the proposed rule would go further, promising to yank funding for clinics which “promote, refer for or support abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday sided with the Trump administration and set aside two nationwide injunctions that had blocked the new rule from taking effect in May.

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit has recognized that there is no need to hold up the new family planning rules that enforce laws on the books and revert substantially to rules that the Supreme Court upheld decades ago,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Thursday night. “We are also pleased that the Ninth Circuit agreed that the three preliminary injunctions against the new rules, including two nationwide injunctions, were inappropriate.”

“This decision is a major step toward the Trump Administration being able to ensure that all Title X projects comply with the Title X statute and do not support abortion as a method of family planning,” Azar’s statement said.

Marie Tasy, executive director for New Jersey Right to Life, praised the ruling because it exposes Planned Parenthood’s “abortion funding scheme.”
“The new Title X Rule upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will require that family planning providers like Planned Parenthood who receive millions of taxpayer dollars must now physically separate their family planning services from their abortion business,” Tasy said. “Everyone knows that all funds are fungible and when there is not physical separation of these type of services, taxpayer money is being used to fund their abortion business.”

New Jersey was among 20 states and Washington D.C. that joined a court action against the rule’s adoption, led by Oregon, Planned Parenthood affiliates and the American Medical Association.

The Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a statement, vowed to continue the challenge.
“Planned Parenthood will not stand for this attack on millions of people across the country. We will be immediately seeking emergency relief from the Court of Appeals,” according to the statement. “Planned Parenthood will not let the government censor our doctors and nurses from informing patients where and how they can access health care.”

Created in 1970, Title X says: “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” The program costs the federal government $260 million, and is used to help 4 million low-income people pay for contraception, gynecology exams, cancer and sexually-transmitted disease screenings.

New Jersey receives $8.8 million in Title X funds, according to the state Health Department.
Last year, 100,000 people were seen at family planning clinics, including 77,000 at Planned Parenthood’s 22 clinics in the state, Olesko said.

Susan K. Livio may be reached at slivio@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find NJ.com Politics on Facebook.

Please Support the NJ Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act

 

Support the NJ Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act A5287/S3905, Click here to view

Sadly, Abortions are legal in NJ for the entire nine months of pregnancy for any reason.  Additionally, there are no legal protections for babies who survive an abortion.

Last January, NY passed one of the most extreme abortion laws in the nation that removed all existing legal protections for babies who survive an abortion.  Because NJ has no protections for babies who survive an abortion, legislators introduced  A5287/S3905, the NJ Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act (click on link above for more information).

In recent days, some radical abortion extremists have held unruly protests at the offices of some of the legislative sponsors of this common sense, humane bill. They continue to lie, misrepresent, and spread false lies about the bill.

The link above provides the names of the sponsors, and the text of the bill (in pdf or html format) can be found below their names. If you click on the blue hyperlink of each sponsors’ name, it will take you to each individual page where you can view their contact information and send an email.

Please call and email to thank the sponsors of this bill for standing up for humanity.

Thank you,

NJRTL

NJ Board of Medical Examiners Finally Orders 7 NJ Abortion clinics operating illegally to be sold

 

Troubled New Jersey abortion clinics to be sold

by Marie McCullough, Updated: April 11, 2019 – 3:18 PM

MARIE MCCULLOUGH/STAFF

The 82-year-old, physically and mentally impaired physician who has headed a chain of abortion clinics in New Jersey has agreed to sell the facilities as part of the revocation of his medical license.

Vikram Kaji lost his license in January when an administrative judge declared him incompetent to practice medicine because of his stroke-related disabilities.

Kaji’s agreement with the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners, issued as a consent order Wednesday, also may enable regulators to remove the founder of the seven clinics, Steven C. Brigham, 62.

More than four years ago, the board ordered Brigham to divest his interests in the clinics when it took away his medical license — the last of six he once held — for illegally performing dangerous late-term abortions. Instead, Brigham transferred ownership for no money to medical director Kaji, who then hired Brigham to manage the clinics.

The state attorney general alleged the transfer was a sham designed to keep Brigham in control and profiting from the business.

Kaji’s agreement requires that he sell the clinics to a licensed physician within 60 days, then submit to the board “copies of the contract of sale and any management contract.”

Joseph Gorrell, the lawyer representing Kaji and Brigham, declined to comment.

The seven New Jersey clinics are part of Brigham’s multistate, Voorhees-based abortion network, advertised as American Women’s Services.

Public records and media reports going back to the early 1990s — when Brigham launched his abortion practice in Wyomissing, Pa. — have documented his history of trouble with regulators, tax collectors, landlords, creditors, and criminal prosecutors in Maryland.

He has testified that he is in financial straits. He owed almost $500,000 to the Internal Revenue Service for not paying employee taxes when he lost his New Jersey license. He has yet to pay any of the $561,000 in penalties and prosecution costs that the state imposed in connection with the revocation of his medical license.

Updated: April 11, 2019 – 3:18 PM

Marie McCullough @repopter |mmccullough@phillynews.com

 

Breaking News: Governor Murphy Signs Assisted Suicide bill

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law today a bill targeting elderly and disabled people that legalizes assisted suicide statewide.

Six states (California, Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont) and Washington D.C. permit the dangerous practice of allowing physicians to write lethal prescriptions to certain groups of persons to kill themselves.

New Jersey works on a system where a bill must achieve 41 votes in the Assembly to pass and 21 votes in the Senate to pass, regardless of how many votes are cast against it. Advocates of the assisted suicide measure received the bare minimum in each chamber to pass it.

The bill narrowly passed by the slimmest of margins.

How did your Two NJ State Assembly Members Vote? Click on the red hyperlink below to find out

A1504/S1072 NJ Assembly Vote

How did your NJ State Senator vote?  Click on the red hyperlink below to find out 

A1504/S1072  NJ Senate Vote

New Jersey pro-life advocates fought legalization valiantly for six years but euthanasia supporters finally obtained enough votes for the bill.

Patients Rights Action Fund’s Executive Director, Matt Valliere told LifeNews he was disappointed by the news.

“With the signing of this bill to legalize assisted suicide, many vulnerable New Jerseyans are now at risk of deadly harm through mistakes, coercion, and abuse. People with disabilities, the economically disadvantaged, and terminally ill patients are at greatest risk – dangerous public policies often ignore the voices of the vulnerable,” he said. “They are already at a disadvantage when they try to gain equal access to healthcare, and this law will only increase the challenges they face.”

He added: “In other states where assisted suicide is legal, it has proven impossible to regulate and leaves the door wide open for abuse and coercion. New Jersey ought to be investing in better care and support at the end of life, not enshrining this dangerous public policy into law.”

New Jersey Right to Life actively worked against the legislation, and noted how thw Senate president actively worked to get the dangerous measure approved.

“The bill was released from Committee by a vote of 6-3, with one Senator not voting. Senate President Sweeney replaced two members of the committee who previously Voted No on the bill with himself and Senator Scutari who is a sponsor of the bill to ensure there would be enough Yes votes for the bill to pass out of Committee,” the group said. “Testimony on the bill was limited to only one hour with each witness provided only two minutes to make their case. Many physicians, disability advocates and key people who signed up to give testimony did not get a chance to do so.”

LifeNews depends on the support of readers like you to combat the pro-abortion media. Please donate now.

The group also warned of numerous problems associated with the workings of the proposed law.

“Proponents claim that this is an issue of personal choice and that those who object to assisted suicide don’t have to utilize it, but taxpayers will be forced to pay for it through NJ’s Medicaid program which is a state taxpayer funded program,” it said. “This means that all taxpayers will be complicit in funding state sanctioned physician assisted suicide if this bill becomes law.”

It added: “Laws should not be passed for the few who want them, but consideration should be given to how it will affect the greater population, especially individuals who are most vulnerable to abuse of such a law.”

“This legislation is bad public policy for New Jersey,” it continued. “It threatens the doctor-patient relationship because it will turn physicians who are meant to be healers into agents of death, who will act directly to cause the death of patient. As we have seen in other states where assisted suicide is legal, health insurance companies (including medicaid providers) who are always looking to cut costs will deny patients treatments to save and sustain their lives, but instead offer assisted suicide drugs because it is cheaper to do so. The “so-called” safeguards in the bill are hollow and do not protect the patient. In addition, the bill grants complete immunity to everyone but the patient. It also involves third parties in the decision making process (including those who are not “capable” of personally communicating their wishes ) and is a recipe for abuse, especially for the elderly and disabled populations.”

On the pro-euthanasia side, Compassion and Choices launched a $1 million sustained digital video ad campaign featuring terminally ill advocates and their loved ones urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass the bill.

ACTION: Share your disappointment with the governor. Gov. Murphy can be reached by phone—609-292-6000—or by email–https://www.state.nj.us/governor/contact.