New Jersey Law Prevails in Court

A lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s medical aid-in-dying law on religious grounds is dismissed; we remain poised for the next challenge.

On Wednesday, April 1, a judge dismissed the lawsuit Glassman v. Grewal, which sought to overturn New Jersey’s 2019 medical aid-in-dying law following a March 24 hearing in the Mercer County Chancery Court.

The suit, filed by a physician who cited religious objections to the law, led another judge to temporarily suspend the law in August 2019. But 13 days later a New Jersey appellate court granted a request by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to overturn the temporary restraining order and reinstated the law. New Jersey’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act has been in effect ever since, pending these legal proceedings.

“We thank Attorney General Grewal for defending the law so terminally ill New Jerseyans continue to have this peaceful dying option,” said Kevin Díaz, chief of legal advocacy for Compassion & Choices, which has successfully defended against attempts to weaken or deny medical aid-in-dying access in California, Oregon, Vermont and Montana. “No one’s religious beliefs should dictate what healthcare options someone else should have to relieve their suffering at the very end of life.”

“I’m happy with this ruling because I would like the option of medical aid in dying as a last resort to ease my final days,” said Lynne Lieberman, a retired social worker in Absecon, New Jersey, who has metastatic cancer in both lungs. “I know it will give me peace of mind simply having the medication, even if I never use it. It will make it easier for me to fully live out the time I have left.”

The ruling ends the threat to this law for now, but the plaintiffs have a legal option to appeal the ruling to a higher court, so we remain vigilant against such efforts and any other legal challenges to the law in the future.