A judge in New Jersey has temporarily blocked enforcement of a law allowing physician-assisted suicide because of religious liberty concerns. Yosef Glassman, an Orthodox Jew and a physician who is a geriatric specialist, challenged the law in court, claiming New Jersey’s Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act violates his free exercise of religion by requiring him to refer patients to another doctor who will help them end their lives. The law, signed in April by Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, allows terminally ill patients who have a prognosis of six months or fewer to acquire drugs to end their lives.
The order, issued by state Superior Court Judge Paul Innes, blocks the law until a hearing on Glassman’s challenge on Oct. 23. Murphy said the state would fight the lawsuit. The governor describes himself as a practicing Catholic but said he considers assisted suicide a personal decision and thinks the law respects people’s freedom and humanity, the Catholic News Agency reported. The Catholic Church opposes assisted suicide and euthanasia because it violates the sanctity of human life. —S.W.