Most in N.J. support measure allowing terminally ill patients to take lethal drug

A new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll finds a majority of New Jersey residents support legislation to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

The bill under consideration by state lawmakers would allow patients with less than six months to live to get a doctor’s prescription for a lethal drug they would administer themselves.

Just over half of New Jersey residents surveyed support the measure, while 38 percent oppose it, according to poll director Krista Jenkins.

“It is a tough decision because it certainly calls into question issues of morality and also faith,” she said. “Nonetheless, we do find that a majority of Garden Staters believe that the legislation should indeed pass.”

An Assembly committee has advanced the legislation, but no action has been taken on it in the state Senate.

Because the option to commit suicide would be regulated by the government, it’s especially tough for Republicans to support the legislation, she said. Only 43 percent of Republicans favor it compared with 60 percent of Democrats.

The poll results are similar to those in 2012 when lawmakers were considering a similar bill. Jenkins says not much has changed since then to influence public opinion about the issue.

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