An attorney for the doctor who sued to stop New Jersey’s new law allowing terminally ill patients to end their lives with medical help said his client believes the law violates his oath as a practicing physician.
Attorney E. David Smith said at a Monday press conference that his client, geriatric physician Dr. Yosef Glassman, opposes the law because it requires him to transfer the files of a terminally ill patient who wishes to end his or her life to a doctor willing to prescribe them lethal medication.
“This is still his patient. He does not want to give that file to another doctor who has stated openly that he is willing to kill the patient,” Smith said.
Doctors are not obliged to prescribe the legal, lethal medicine.
Last week, the New Jersey judge hearing Glassman’s case issued an injunction that temporarily blocks the implementation of the “aid-in-dying” law, which had taken effect on Aug. 1.
Religious leaders and opponents of the law greeted the injunction as a victory, but proponents of allowing terminally ill people to end their lives say it delays relief for those suffering in pain.
“The slowing of the enactment of this duly legislated and thoroughly crafted law is causing pain, agony, and distress for those seeking access to the relief they want and deserve,” said Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, who sponsored the law.
New Jersey was the eighth state to legally permit the practice.
Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy has vowed to fight Glassman’s lawsuit.