New Jersey assisted suicide bill offers limited protection of conscience

 Assembly Bill 2270 (2014) Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

Some protection of conscience provisions are found in an assisted suicide bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature.  While at first glance the definition of “health care professional” appears to provide protection for nurses, licensed practical nurses and others, the protection is limited by the definition of “participating in this act” or “participation in this act” to physicians,  psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmacists.

Further, the definition of “participating in this act” or “participation in this act” excludes referral, so it would appear that the bill could be understood to require objectors to facilitate assisted suicide by referral.

Section 25 provides protection for health care facilities that will not allow assisted suicide on their premises for reasons of conscience or religion.

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