Thursday, August 29, 2019

New Jersey Assisted Suicide Law Reinstated By Appeals Court

In Glassman v. Grewal, (NJ App.,  Aug. 27, 2019), a New Jersey state appeals court lifted the temporary restraining order entered by a trial courtearlier this month (see prior posting) preventing the state's Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act from being enforced.The appeals court said in part:
Here, plaintiff failed to establish that injunctive relief was necessary to prevent irreparable harm and preserve the status quo.... The only harm identified by the court was the Executive Branch's failure to adopt enabling regulations. Neither the court nor plaintiff, however, identified how the absence of such regulations harmed him, irreparably or otherwise.... 
Further, as the Act makes clear, participation by physicians like plaintiff is entirely voluntary. The only requirement the Act imposes on health care providers who, based upon religious or other moral bases, voluntarily decide not to treat a fully-informed, terminally-ill patient interested in ending their lives, is to transfer any medical records to the new provider selected by the patient. See N.J.S.A. 26:16-17(c). We fail to discern how the administrative function of transferring those documents constitutes a matter of constitutional import, or an act contrary to a physician's professional obligations. In this regard, we note that a physician has long been required to transfer a patient's records on request, see N.J.A.C. 13:35-6.5, and does so without personal assent to any subsequent medical procedures.
A few hours later, the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to vacate the appeals court decision. (Full text of Supreme Court Order.) reports on the decisions.