For many years the New Jersey Legislature has been trying to enact a statute which would, in narrowly defined circumstances, insulate from criminal responsibility those who participate in hastening the death of a terminally ill patient who has expressed a contemporaneous wish to die quickly rather than to continue living with great suffering.

In January 2018, two identical bills, A-1504 and S-1072, both entitled “The New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act,” were introduced in the New Jersey Assembly and Senate respectively. When first introduced in the 2012-13 session, they were called the “Death with Dignity” bills. Although these bills passed relevant committees in each house, they never mustered enough votes to become law. Gov. Chris Christie’s 2014 declaration that he would veto any such bill obviously hindered passage. However, with a new governor in place, the proponents of the bill presently before the legislature are optimistic that their proposed statute will be enacted.

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