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After success in two other states, assisted suicide group sues to end New Jersey safeguard

by | Sep 6, 2023

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser 

Assisted suicide lobbying organization Compassion & Choices has filed a lawsuit to have New Jersey’s residency requirement for assisted suicide overturned.

In 2019, the NJ Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act went into effect. Though it was temporarily blocked by a judge, an appeals court quickly overturned the injunction, and by 2022, state lawmakers were moving to waive the 15-day waiting period.

But for Compassion & Choices, that isn’t enough. The group wants people who don’t live in New Jersey to be allowed to be killed by doctors there, claiming that the residency requirement is unconstitutional.

In a press release, the group claimed residency requirements infringe upon people’s ability to receive “health care,” although helping someone to kill themself is not health care. “The only thing that would prevent our patient plaintiffs from seeking the medical option they desperately want to avoid needless end-of-life suffering — and our physician plaintiffs from providing it — is the New Jersey law’s unconstitutional residency requirement,” said Kevin Díaz, chief legal advocacy officer for Compassion & Choices. “Arbitrarily barring medical care solely on the basis of where patients live not only violates the Constitution but upends the standard of care for healthcare delivery.”

Legal challenges from Compassion & Choices have removed the residency requirements in Oregon and Vermont already. New Jersey, however, is centrally located to a number of states — Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, New Hampshire, and more — which have not legalized assisted suicide. By removing the residency requirement, New Jersey is likely to quickly become a hub for people throughout the northeast to be killed.

Residency requirements, far from infringing on health care, also serve as a barrier against death tourism, in which a suicidal person shops around until they find a doctor willing to help them die.

The doctor-patient relationship becomes diluted, if not non-existent, with the doctor knowing nothing about the suicidal patient and their life beyond their desire to die — much the way the abortion industry has long functioned, with abortionists typically knowing little to nothing about their clients prior to an abortion.

A doctor with an established patient/doctor relationship is more likely to offer the patient palliative or hospice care, rather than merely fulfilling a random person’s suicidal ideations.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Assisted Suicide