By Chris Haring

After nearly five years of litigation, the New Jersey Supreme Court recently rejected an attempt by opponents to overturn the state’s 2019 Death with Dignity law.

The New Jersey right-to-die movement has reason to celebrate, as in a recent landmark decision, the state’s Supreme Court has upheld its medical aid in dying law, solidifying a significant victory for terminally ill individuals seeking autonomy over their end-of-life options residing in New Jersey. 

As Roz Brown wrote for The Monmouth Journal, this affirmation comes after a rigorous, nearly five-year-long legal battle that challenged the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act – signed into law in 2019 – asserting its constitutionality.

A healthcare practitioner champions the autonomy that comes with expanded end-of-life options

Dr. Paul Bryman, an advocate for physician-assisted death and a practitioner of hospice and palliative care, emphasized that while it may not be the choice for everyone, its availability ensures that individuals facing terminal illnesses have the agency to decide what is best for them.

Since its implementation, medical aid in dying has empowered 186 terminally ill New Jerseyans to make informed decisions about their end-of-life care. “[I]t’s someone’s choice whether they want to use that,” he said, adding “No one’s forced to do it.”

New Jersey leads the way along with ten other aid-in-dying jurisdictions

New Jersey, along with Washington, D.C., and nine other states where assisted death is legally available, collectively represent a significant – but still too-small – portion of the American population. However, with aid-in-dying bills due to be considered by over 20 states in 2024, this list is poised to grow, as a majority of legislators, voters, and judges continue to display their support.

For more information on the status of Death with Dignity in New Jersey, please visit the state page on our website.

Read the full article below:

N.J. ‘Medical Aid-In-Dying’ Law Upheld By State Supreme Court

By: Roz Brown
Published: February 14, 2024

TRENTON — After a five-year court battle, New Jersey’s medical aid-in-dying law has been affirmed by the state’s Supreme Court, which rejected an attempt to overturn the statute.

Signed by the governor in 2019, the law was soon challenged by a physician based on religious, personal and constitutional grounds. It allows mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to get a prescription they can use to end their lives.

Dr. Paul Bryman, a hospice and palliative care physician, is an advocate for medical aid in dying for people who feel their suffering is intolerable.

“I think it’s important that that option is available for people who choose to avail themselves of it,” Dr. Bryman said. “It’s not for everyone and it’s someone’s choice whether they want to use that. No one’s forced to do it.”

Bryman practices geriatric and internal medicine and believes there are adequate legal safeguards to make sure patients are protected. The law was briefly suspended in August 2019, but reinstated 13 days later as court proceedings continued.

The nonprofit group Compassion & Choices expressed support for the decision as well as expanded and improved end-of-life care options.

Alan Howard, Compassion & Choices attorney, urged the justices to uphold a lower court’s ruling.

“We are grateful that the Supreme Court recognized that there are terminally ill New Jersey residents who are counting on this end-of-life care option to bring them peace of mind during this difficult time,” said Howard. “Dying people should have this compassionate option to peacefully end their suffering if it becomes unbearable.”

Bryman added a total of 186 terminally ill New Jerseyans have used the medical aid-in-dying law and believes the court made the right decision.

“I’m glad that it’s finally over and that this law’s available for people in New Jersey who have the right to their own health-care decisions,” he said.

In addition to New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and nine other states, which represent 22 percent of all Americans, have authorized medical aid in dying.