New Jersey lawmakers consider assisted suicide bill
New Jersey's lawmakers are considering legislation that would legalize assisted suicide in the state.
The "Aid in Dying for the Terminal Ill" Act would allow terminally ill patients to ask for medicine to end their lives. The bill was passed in the New Jersey Assembly Thursday. It was sponsored by Democrat John Burzichelli.
"It brings a great comfort to people...if things just got to a point that the pain medications were not working...that they could, in a controlled manner, conclude their time," Burzichelli says.
Clark resident Laurie Wilcox has rheumatoid arthritis, which is now in her lungs. She says if it comes to it, she would like the option to end her suffering.
"My disease is such that I would feel like I'm drowning at the end of my life," she says. "In the last week of my life, I'd like an option."
Some New Jersey residents say that they are opposed to the plan. Opponents fear unscrupulous beneficiaries could take advantage. There are also religious concerns.
"There's just too many gaps as far as what happens when you are in a situation of being terminally ill," says Kate Blisard, who is against the bill.
Supporters of the bill say the process outlined in the measure doesn't make it easy for a patient to end their life, but it does give them some choice in the matter.
The state Senate has not heard the bill yet. Gov. Chris Christie has said that he would not sign legislation to allow assisted suicide.