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Kill The Bill Not The People

Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch… Re: Physician Assisted Suicide

It’s been a while since we’ve sent out a Trenton Musings, now that the our office move has been finalized and our remaining team members are getting into gear  the state house  is buzzing as the lame duck session comes to a close. As Arnold says, “We’re Back!!!” that is our Trenton Musings; our team never left the field.

We’ve been closely following the status of the movement to legalize Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS) throughout the nation, but especially in New Jersey.  In  coalition with New Jersey Alliance Against Physician-Assisted Suicide, which includes members from New Jersey Right to Life, New Jersey Catholic Conference, NJ Knights of Columbus and Disability Rights Activists we have been lobbying hard on this issue and sending you all alerts and updates as they’ve happened.

Driving the aggressive movement to legalize PAS in NJ and 23 other states is Compassions & Choices (C&C), the former Hemlock Society. They have grown tremendously since 2014, tripling their volunteer force; now with 3,500 volunteers and 71 full-time employees throughout the country pushing their “Right to die” campaign. They have won in 5 states, California being the most recent state to pass legislation making PAS legal. BUT MORE IMPORTANLY, Physician Assisted suicide legislation has been introduced in 24 states, to date; none of these bills have passed and the 9 introduced since January 2015 have been defeated.

However, we have not let this discourage us in our fight to keep this horrific attack on the end of life issues out of New Jersey. Though PAS advocates seem to be recruiting an army to move it forward state by state, we have stood in their way, along with our determined and committed coalition! We have been a formidable foe to C & C.

After spending the day in Trenton yesterday, Thursday, January 7, 2016, we believe the Senate does not have the votes to pass this bill, (it has already passed in the NJ Assembly by only one vote, which was because 4 Republicans defected from what a majority of their base believes and supported A2270’s passage). Anticipating that the votes are not there to pass the bill, Senate President Stephen Sweeney will probably defer on posting the bill and put it off to a future date in the new legislative session. The current 216th Legislative Session ends at 11:59 AM on January 12the and the next Legislative Session (217th) starts at 12:00 noon on January 12th. Noon is the line of demarcation every two years on the second Tuesday in January.

We’re glad to see this issue in Trenton seemingly heading in the right direction and we are still praying-
This is egregious public policy. The Southern medical Journal just released a study examining the correlation between legalizing physician-assisted suicide and the overall suicide rate. The results show that legalizing PAS was associated with a 6.3% increase in total suicides. The researchers commented that “the introduction of [physician-assisted suicide] seemingly induces more self-inflicted deaths than it inhibits.”

As we said, we do not want to count our chickens before they hatch.  But if all goes well (AND PLEASE PRAY THAT IT DOES), we will feed S382 a lethal dose of its own medication, keeping Physician Assisted Suicide out of NJ! If it goes this way, that would mean if C&C still wants to stick around Jersey with their bill, they will have to begin the process in the next Legislative Session and start all over again. We are sure the bill will be pre-filed along with thousands of other pieces of legislation. So we will be watching.   

Let them do it… we are ready. Our participation in the Coalition has been wonderful. We have made many new friends and together we are standing for your values as our mission calls us to!  

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