New Jersey law giving terminally ill patients the right to end their lives goes into effect this week

New Jersey law giving terminally ill patients the right to end their lives goes into effect this week
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A law allowing physicians to provide lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients who want to die will go into effect in New Jersey this week.

The state’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act is slated to go into effect on Thursday, Aug. 1, four months after New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed the legislation into law.

“Allowing residents with terminal illnesses to make end-of-life choices for themselves is the right thing to do,” Murphy said in a statement at the time. “By signing this bill today, we are providing terminally ill patients and their families with the humanity, dignity, and respect that they so richly deserve at the most difficult times any of us will face.”

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Adults with a medical prognosis of six months or less to live will be allowed to access a prescription for life-ending medication, CBS New York reported.

A psychiatrist or psychologist will need to determine if the patient has the mental capacity to make the voluntary decision. The patient must also request the medication twice and be offered the chance to change their mind. 

The legislation passed the state Assembly, 41-33, and the state Senate with a 21-16 vote.

There are several other states with “right to die” law on the books, including Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia.

Maine became the eighth state to legalize medically assisted suicide when Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed the Maine Death with Dignity Act, which will go into effect in September.