New Jersey doctor, lawmaker fight to repeal ‘Aid in Dying’ law

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A New Jersey doctor and a state lawmaker are fighting to have New Jersey’s assisted-suicide for terminally ill patients law repealed.

The Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act went into effect Aug. 1, but doctors have not been allowed to prescribe any of the medication yet due to a lawsuit challenging the law.

Orthodox Jewish Dr. Yosef Glassman challenged the law based on religious and professional reasons. He convinced a superior court judge in Mercer County to place a temporary restraining order on the law because he says that regulations were not yet in place.

“The point that Dr. Glassman wants to bring across to everybody is that suicide by any other name is still suicide,” Glassman’s attorney David Smith said Monday at the State House.

RELATED: New Jersey's medically assisted suicide law put on hold 

Part of the law states that if a doctor like Glassman doesn't want to help a patient in this manner then they must refer and hand off their file to another doctor. But Smith says that Glassman is not willing to do that either.

Smith was joined by Republican state Assemblyman Robert Auth, who is pushing a bill to repeal the law.

The current law only applies to those who are terminally ill with only six months to live. They would need to send a written request to their doctor for the fatal drugs and would need to get a second opinion in order to go forward.

New Jersey is one of 10 states to adopt such a law. It is strongly supported by the group Compassion and Choices. That group issued a statement about the lawsuit.

“Dr. Glassman and Assemblyman Auth should let every New Jerseyan follow their own conscience and respect their right to make their own end-of-life care decisions,” says spokeswoman Corinne Carey.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is now filing an appeal of the temporary restraining order issued by the New Jersey superior court judge.

The matter will be back in court for discussion on Oct. 23.

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