2020 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - Health and Vital Statistics
Section 26:16-2 - Findings, declarations relative to medical aid in dying for the terminally ill.

Universal Citation: NJ Rev Stat § 26:16-2 (2020)

26:16-2 Findings, declarations relative to medical aid in dying for the terminally ill.

2. The Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Recognizing New Jersey's long-standing commitment to individual dignity, informed consent, and the fundamental right of competent adults to make health care decisions about whether to have life-prolonging medical or surgical means or procedures provided, withheld, or withdrawn, this State affirms the right of a qualified terminally ill patient, protected by appropriate safeguards, to obtain medication that the patient may choose to self-administer in order to bring about the patient's humane and dignified death.

b. Statistics from other states that have enacted laws to provide compassionate medical aid in dying for terminally ill patients indicate that the great majority of patients who requested medication under the laws of those states, including more than 90 percent of patients in Oregon since 1998 and between 72 percent and 86 percent of patients in Washington in each year since 2009, were enrolled in hospice care at the time of death, suggesting that those patients had availed themselves of available treatment and comfort care options available to them at the time they requested compassionate medical aid in dying.

c. The public welfare requires a defined and safeguarded process in order to effectuate the purposes of this act, which will:

(1) guide health care providers and patient advocates who provide support to dying patients;

(2) assist capable, terminally ill patients who request compassionate medical aid in dying;

(3) protect vulnerable adults from abuse; and

(4) ensure that the process is entirely voluntary on the part of all participants, including patients and those health care providers that are providing care to dying patients.

d. This act is in the public interest and is necessary for the welfare of the State and its residents.

L.2019, c.59, s.2.

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