Lawsuit fails to stop NJ law allowing terminally ill patients to die
TRENTON — A New Jersey appellate court has overturned a Superior Court judge’s temporary restraining order that had blocked the state’s aid-in-dying law from taking effect.
Lawyers for Bergen County Dr. Yosef Glassman, who filed the lawsuit to stop terminally ill patients from having the right to take their own lives, appealed the appellate decision to the state Supreme Court Tuesday morning, but that appeal was immediately rejected, which means the new law is now in effect.
Corinne Carey, the senior campaign director for Compassion & Choices in New Jersey and New York, said her organization is grateful to the appellate division “for recognizing the harm that this temporary restraining order had caused families who were relying on this law when it went into effect on Aug. 1.”
She pointed out for some individuals, hospice and palliative care are invaluable and provide everything they need for a peaceful death.
“But there are some people for whom even the best hospice and palliative care is not enough. They want some measure of autonomy over their end of life process," she said.
“Everyone deserves the right to die in a way that is consistent with their faith and their values and their beliefs."
Attorney E. David Smith, who filed the original suit to block the law from taking effect, was not available for comment Tuesday.
The prime sponsor of the legislation, Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, issued the following statement:
“I applaud the Appellate Court for acting quickly to help those who are suffering and allow relief for those seeking it. The Appellate Court decision upholds the thorough work of the legislature in crafting this law.
“Let’s be clear; physician participation is voluntary. It is my belief, under the law, it is the absolute right of a qualified terminally-ill patient to seek relief and to have their medical records transferred for any reason and under any circumstance.
“Ultimately, New Jersey remains steadfast in its commitment to treating citizens with dignity and respect. I take heart that people deeply affected by the slowed enactment of this law have their right to relief reinstated.”
A hearing is scheduled to take place Oct. 23 in Superior Court on Glassman’s motion for a preliminary injunction to block the law.