Terminally ill residents with prognoses of less than six months to live would be permitted to obtain prescriptions for drugs to end their lives under a bill just approved by the New Jersey Assembly.
The legislation has bounced around the Legislature for years before passing by a 41-28 vote Thursday. Its future in the Senate remains uncertain.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli, a Gloucester Democrat and the law's prime sponsor, says the discussion centers on revising a 1978 statute that never considered an individual's right to control their body and their circumstances.
In addition, the bill also offers protection to any physician who writes lethal prescriptions for terminal patients.
Opponents say the legislation doesn't do enough to protect residents with disabilities or guard against mislabeling people as terminally ill.