Legislature Passes Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act
On August 1, 2019, the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act (the “Act”) became the law in New Jersey. Under the new statute, residents of New Jersey who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness, or who have been given less than six months to live can ask a physician to provide them with medication to end their lives. It’s not a simple process, though. Here are the criteria prospective patients must meet to qualify:
- You must provide proof that you are a New Jersey resident—That can be done with any valid form of state issued identification, such as a voter registration card. A recent New Jersey state tax return will also suffice
- You must have been examined by at least two licensed physicians, both of whom conclude that you are terminally ill, but still have the mental capacity to make your own end-of-life decisions. If you appear to lack mental capacity, you must be examined by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist.
- You must make at least two requests for life-ending medication, and they must be at least 15 days apart. There must be at least one written request, dated and signed in the presence of at least two witnesses, who cannot be related by blood, marriage or adoption, or entitled to any part of the terminally ill person’s estate.
The request for life-ending medication may not be part of a living will or advance medical directive. However, if an advance medical directive is in place, and a terminally ill person retains mental capacity, the terminally ill person may ask the agent to request end-of-life medication.
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