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.