New Jersey’s Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act took effect on August 1, 2019 and is in effect. Qualified patients may request and physicians may prescribe medications under the law.
New Jersey is the 8th jurisdiction to enact a death with dignity statute; one in five Americans now live where the option is available.
In the 2020 session, a group of legislators introduced a bill aiming to repeal the state’s new assisted dying statute.
Resources and Additional Information
About the Statute and Implementation
- Full text of the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act
- Legislative history of A1054 [type A1504 in Bill Search-Bill Number field)
- Governor Phil Murphy’s A1504 signing statement
- New Jersey Department of Health
Resources for Patients
- Request form for patients [written request fillable PDF form]
Resources for Physicians and Pharmacists
All forms are courtesy of the New Jersey Department of Health.
- Attending Physician Compliance Form
- Consulting Physician Compliance Form
- Mental Health Professional Compliance Form
- Medication Dispensing Record
- Attending Physician Follow Up Form
The New Jersey Medical Society remains opposed to death with dignity.
What does death with dignity mean to you?
Most people join our movement because of a heartbreaking personal experience. We receive stories of such experiences every day, and every day they inspire us to work toward ensuring terminally-ill Americans have the freedom to decide how they die. We want to hear from you. What's your death with dignity story? What inspired you to get involved in the cause?
History of Aid in Dying in New Jersey
Shortly after the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act went into effect, in August 2019, it was challenged in court; the legal challenge was dismissed in April 2020.
- April 1 – Mercer County Superior Court Judge Robert Lougy dismissed with prejudice the legal challenge on the grounds of the plaintiffs’ lack of standing, since participation in the law is voluntary and they are not harmed by it, and on the grounds that “a constitutional or fundamental right to protect or defend the lives of others, nor, in the absence of any precedent that says otherwise, is the Court persuaded that any such right exists, particularly to the extent it would curtail the rights to privacy of capable terminally ill patients to determine the course of their own medical treatment.”
- August 27 – The New Jersey Appellate Court lifts the temporary restraining order on the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act. Hours later, the New Jersey Supreme Court denies the plaintiff’s appeal of the Appellate Court’s ruling.
- August 20 – New Jersey Supreme Court declines the AG’s petition to allow the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act to be in effect while the lawsuit resolves in the court, instead sending the matter to the state’s Appellate Court to decide whether the law should be overturned.
- August 16 – New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal files an appeal to a temporary restraining order on the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act.
- August 15 – Mercer County Superior Court Judge Paul Innes issues a temporary restraining order on the new law. Implementation of the law is halted at least until October 23, 2019.
- August 8 – A physician files a legal challenge to the new Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, asking for an injunction on the law’s implementation.
A group of legislators* introduced A1504, the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act in the New Jersey Assembly on January 9, 2018. The bill was referred to New Jersey Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee and later transferred to the Judiciary Committee. On March 12, 2018, the Committee heard and passed the bill 5 to 2. On January 31, 2019, the Assembly approved Am. Johnson’s amendments to the pending bill.
A companion bill, S1072, the New Jersey Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, was introduced on January 22, 2018. The bill was referred to New Jersey Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee, which on February 7, 2019 passed it 6 to 3.
A floor vote on S1072/A1504, Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, in both chambers took place on March 25, 2019. The Assembly passed the bill 41 to 33; the Senate 21 to 16.
Shortly thereafter, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy stated he would sign the bill, saying
Allowing terminally ill and dying residents the dignity to make end-of-life decisions according to their own consciences is the right thing to do. I look forward to signing this legislation into law.
Governor Murphy signed the Act into law on Friday, April 12, 2019.
Today’s bill signing will make NJ the eighth state to allow terminally ill patients the dignity to make their own end-of-life decisions – including medical aid in dying.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 12, 2019
- A1504: Assemblymembers John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), Joe Danielsen (D-Somerset), and Tim Eustace (D-Bergen) and as primary sponsors, with Assemblymembers Annette Chaparro (D-33), Jamel Holley (D-20), Mila Jasey (D-27), Angelica Jimenez (D-32), Gordon Johnson (D-37), John McKeon (D-27), and Gabriela Mosquera (D-4) as co-sponsors
- S1072: Senators Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) and Richard Codey (D-27)
On June 6, 2019, New Jersey Assemblymember Robert Auth (R) and three co-sponsors introduced a bill aiming to repeal the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act before it goes into effect.
New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli (D-Gloucester), with Tim Eustace (D-Bergen) and Joe Danielsen (D-Somerset) as primary sponsors and 8 additional co-sponsors, introduced A2451, Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act on February 4, 2016, After referral to the Health and Senior Services Committee, the Assembly bill was transferred to the Appropriations Committee which passed it 8 to 2 on October 6, 2016.
On October 20, 2016, the full Assembly passed the bill on a 41 to 28 vote, with 5 abstentions. The vote was nearly identical to and came almost exactly two years after an up vote on a previous bill (see below).
A2451 then headed to the Senate where it was heard and passed 5 to 3, with 1 abstention, in the Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee on November 3, 2016.
The companion physician-assisted dying bill in the New Jersey Senate was S2474, sponsored by Senators Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) and Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-West Deptford). The Senate version was reported favorably (passed) by the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee on November 3, 2016. The bill did not come up for a floor vote.
On November 13, 2014, the New Jersey Assembly approved A2270, the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, 41 to 31, with 8 abstentions; Governor Chris Christie indicated he would veto any death with dignity bills.
In January 2015, a companion bill S382 was introduced in the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee with amendments. The bill did not come up for a vote in the Senate by the January 12, 2016, deadline.
A February 2015 poll Rutgers-Eagleton poll found that 63 percent of New Jersey residents support aid-in-dying legislation.
The 2014-2015 session was the second time a death with dignity bill was considered in the New Jersey legislature. Companion bills A3328 and S2259 were introduced in the 2012-2013 session; both died in Committee. The first time a bill was introduced was in 2012.
The death with dignity movement got its most significant spur in recent history in New Jersey. In 1976, the Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled that the parents of comatose Karen Ann Quinlan could remove her life support.