New Jersey is the ninth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. According to the state’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act, attending physicians can “write a prescription for medication that would enable a qualified terminally ill patient to end his or her life.”
The Act defines “terminally ill” as “the terminal stage of an irreversibly fatal illness, disease, or condition with … a life expectancy of six months or less.” Only the “physician who has primary responsibility for the care of a patient and treatment of a patient’s terminal disease,” may write the life-ending prescription.
And what happens if the doctor’s conscience prevents him from writing the prescription? While the Act is clear that “any action taken by a health care professional to participate… shall be voluntary…” it also requires the “health care professional” to “transfer, upon request, a copy of the patient’s relevant records to the new health care professional or health care facility.”
So, while it would be far worse for New Jersey to coerce doctors to kill against their conscience, does honoring a patient’s request and making a referral mean one is still complicit in his or her death? Or, to put it differently, is the law still forcing physicians who want nothing to do with physician-assisted suicide to participate?
That is the opinion of Dr. Yosef P. Glassman. He recently filed suit to block implementation of the Act because he believes that being forced to refer patients to doctors who will kill them violates his religious beliefs. Dr. Glassman is particularly well-qualified to hold forth on his beliefs. Not only is he a physician specializing in the care of the elderly, he is also an Orthodox Rabbi.
Glassman told the Jewish Link that he “was motivated to act by the chilling prospect of being a part of the suicide process, which strongly conflicted with both my professional and religious values.”
After talking with several concerned Jewish community members on the topic, Glassman decided his work in geriatrics left him no choice but “to take a firm position.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera