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The Star-Ledger 

New Jersey

June  7, 2014


Poll: Should NJ give terminally ill patients right to obtain prescription to end their lives?

By Brent Johnson

TRENTON — Should New Jersey lawmakers 

pass a bill that would give terminally ill 

patients the right to obtain a prescription to 

end their lives?

 

 

Under the Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill 

Act , New Jersey patients diagnosed with a 

terminal illness and expecting to die within 

six months would be permitted to obtain 

medication they could self-administer to kill 

themselves "in a humane and dignified 

manner."

 

 

A state Assembly committee approved the 

measure Thursday.

 

"People have the right to self — 

determination from the beginning of their life 

to the end of it," said Assemblyman Herb 

Conaway (D-Burlington), the committee's 

chairman and a physician.

 

Still, nearly two dozen opponents, including 

disabled people, warned that the measure 

provided "an open invitation to abuse."

 

Even two supporters of the legislation said

they had concerns about protection for people 

with disabilities and would look for future 

amendments.

Dawn Teresa Parkot delivered her testimony 

through electronically by an audio device. 

Brain injured at birth, she said doctors advised 

her parents she would be "a mindless 

vegetable ... lucky to survive to age 5." 

  

But the 42-year-old Morristown woman 

became a Notre Dame honors graduate with 

bachelor's degrees in computers science and 

engineering, a software tester, and founder of 

a nonprofit that educates the public that "the 

extremely disabled can have a full, successful, 

busy, joyful and meaningful life."

 

She said people in extreme pain can be treated 

and should be given the opportunity to change 

their minds.

 

"Let's get truthful: This bill is not about 'death 

with dignity,'" Parkot said. "Often patients are 

misdiagnosed and could make a irreversible 

decision to die based on the wrong 

information."