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New Jersey panel advances end-of-life bill

6-5-14

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey Assembly committee has advanced a proposal allowing terminally ill residents to end their lives on their own terms.

The bill would allow patients diagnosed as terminally ill and given less than six months to live to obtain prescription drugs that would end their lives.

The amended bill would not require voter approval.

A consulting physician would need to certify the diagnosis. The patient would need to show mental competence and be able to take the drugs without assistance.

Proponents say terminally ill patients should have the option of being able to end their suffering.

Opponents say diagnoses are sometimes incorrect and there is no safeguard to ensure that the medication doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

Thursday’s hearing was the first public discussion of the bill.