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Group to Launch Digital Video Ad Campaign to Pass NJ Aid-in-Dying Bill By Year’s End

Statehouse

 

Ads Link to Videos of Terminally Ill Residents and Their Loved Ones Urging Lawmakers to Act

Compassion & Choices today announced the launch of a sustained digital video ad campaign featuring terminally ill advocates and their loved ones urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass the Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Act (A1504/S1072) without delay after six years of debate on the issue.

The end-of-life care advocacy group made the announcement the day after a rally and lobbying day by its local supporters at the state capitol in Trenton to demand lawmakers bring the popular legislation to the floor for a vote before the end of the year.

Assembly Deputy Leader John Burzichelli originally introduced the bill in 2012 as the “Death with Dignity Act.” In 2014, the General Assembly passed the Aid in Dying for Terminally Act. In 2016, the General Assembly, and Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee approved the bill. But then Gov. Chris Christie’s promised veto of the legislation discouraged the Senate from voting on it. In March of this year, the Assembly Judiciary Committee voted 5-2 to approve the bill for Assembly action and it enjoys strong public support.

“We have patiently waited for the legislature to pass this compassionate bill for 6 years, despite the fact that polling consistently has shown the vast majority of New Jerseyans want this end-of-life care option to peacefully end unbearable suffering,” said Corinne Carey, New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “We cannot watch any more terminally ill advocates for this legislation die in needless agony waiting for legislative leaders to bring the bill to the floor when we know there are enough votes to pass it now.”

A 2-1 majority (63% vs. 29%) of New Jersey voters, including most Protestants (73%), Catholics (64%) and other non-Protestant residents (59%), support medical aid in dying, according to the most recent state poll on the issue by Rutgers-Eagleton. Major newspapers statewide have endorsed the Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Act.

The ad campaign will launch on Monday, Oct. 1, with a riveting 2-minute video of Debra Dunn, an operating room nurse in Paramus, vividly describing how her husband, Herb, died in agony from pancreatic cancer in five years ago in 2013 because he did not have access to medical aid in dying. Ever since then, she has been advocating for lawmakers to pass the Aid in Dying for Terminally Ill Act. Her video urges her fellow New Jerseyans to write their lawmakers in support of the legislation at: CompassionAndChoices.org/New-Jersey. The video is posted at: bit.ly/DebraDunnVideo

“My husband was constantly in pain,” says Dunn in the video. “The morphine took the edge off. It never took him out of pain, never … He went onto hospice, he wasn’t eating or drinking anymore. He lasted two weeks, unfortunately, because it was a horrible two weeks. Please ask our legislative leaders to bring the medical aid in dying bill to the floor for a vote.”

The video ads will run on multiple digital platforms until lawmakers enact the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.

Medical aid in dying has been authorized in Washington, D.C. and 7 states: California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. Collectively, these jurisdictions represent nearly 1 out of 5 Americans (19%) and have 40 years of combined experience safely using this end-of-life care option.

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  • Bradley Williams

    All is not well where assisted suicide is legal. There is documented abuse see Thomas Middleton Oregon case where he was killed via the OR policy for his assets. A public policy failure.
    I was my wife’s 24/7 caregiver during her last 18 months of declining autonomy.
    Pitfalls in assisted suicide laws need attention. We already have the right to refuse treatment. Many who believe in the concept under the choice banner have second-thoughts org when they read the language of the actual bill and realize our choice is Ignored and certainly not assured.
    This is not about people who are dying anyway.
    Amending Colorado’s Prop 106 is sorely needed (and OR,WA,CA). The initiative a monopoly and profit center was bought for $8,000,000 of deception. Even as they proclaimed that the poison must be self administered they did not provide for an ordinary witness. The difference is that without a witness it allows forced euthanasia but with a witness they would up hold individual choice.

    Amendments would include requiring a witness to the self administration, restore the illegality of falsifying the death certificate require the posting of the poison applied in the medical record for the sake of good stewardship for future studies, register organ/tissue trafficking, reveal commissions and memorials paid to the corporate facilitators and keep all records for transparent public safety policy.
    These Oregon model bills do not assure our choice and ignore our choice by empowering predatory corporations over us.
    Bradley Williams
    President
    MTaas org

  • Bradley Williams

    Only six states and the District of Columbia have laws to provide immunity to all involved including predatory corporations and others. (“Pod Squad: What’s Next For Medical Aid In Dying?”)
    Correction please: Thankfully like 44 other states, no one in Montana has immunity from prosecution for assisting a suicide, no doctor, nurse, caregiver, guardian or corporation.
    The promoters of assisted suicide have done you a disservice. The euthanasia mon0p0ly has worn out their thesaurus attempting to imply that it is legal in Montana. Assisted suicide is a homicide in Montana. Our Montana Supreme Court did rule that if a doctor is charged with a homicide they might have a potential defense based on consent. The court acknowledged it is a homicide in the ruling

    The court did not address civil liabilities and vacated the lower court’s claim that it was a constitutional right. Unlike Oregon, no one in Montana has immunity from civil or criminal prosecution, death certificates are not legally falsified and investigations are not prohibited like in Hawaii, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and California. Does that sound legal to you?
    Perhaps the promoters are frustrated that even though they were the largest lobbying spender in Montana, their Oregon model legalizing assisted suicide bills have been rejected in Montana in 2011, 2013 and 2015. The predatory corporation withdrew from their bullying legislative position in 2017. They simply did not try a fourth time and we celebrate saving lives every day in Montana.
    What else have they spoke out of the side of their mouth?
    — Bradley Williams, President, Montanans Against Assisted Suicide, Hamilton, Montana

  • Not Dead Yet

    As with so many things, look at the money. What does cost have to do with assisted suicide? As a founder of the Hemlock Society said in one of his books, “…economics, not the quest for broadened individual liberties or increased autonomy, will drive assisted suicide to the plateau of acceptable practice.” Managed care companies profit if old, ill and disabled people die as soon as possible.

    And think about the increasing rates of elder abuse. Under assisted suicide laws, a friend or relative – even an heir – can “encourage” an elder to make the lethal drug request, sign the forms as a witness, pick up the prescription, and even administer the drug (with or without consent) because no objective witness is required at death, so who would know? One in 10 elders are abused in the U.S. according to the NEJM. In about half the Oregon assisted suicide cases, the Oregon Health Division reports that no health care provider was present at the time of ingestion of the lethal drugs. So there is no independent witness to self-administration of the lethal drugs nor to consent at that time. Elder Law Attorney Margaret Dore has written that assisting persons can have their own agendas:
    • an adult child wanting an inheritance;
    • a financial predator seeking financial gain;
    • or a doctor wanting to hide malpractice.
    Assisted suicide laws are not about compassion. They are LEGAL IMMUNITY STATUTES for everyone involved, and deny old, ill and disabled people the equal protection of the law.

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