Are You a Legal Professional?

New Jersey Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia, also referred to as “mercy killing," refers to the taking of someone's life with the intent of easing their pain and suffering. It typically involves a physician or some other person administering a lethal dose of medication to the patient. Euthanasia should be distinguished from physician-assisted-suicide, in which doctors give patients a lethal dose of medication -- but the patients administer the medication to themselves. Both are highly controversial subjects within the United States and also across the world. While euthanasia is illegal in all fifty states, physician-assisted-suicide is legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, and New Mexico.

In New Jersey, euthanasia is illegal (as mentioned above). However, New Jersey law allows what may be called a more "passive" form of euthanasia, referred to as the “withholding of life-sustaining procedures.” Life-sustaining procedures refer to treatments, devices, or surgeries that take over or help to restore the functioning of a vital organ or body system. Under the law, if a patient directs in a previously executed advanced health care directive that he or she wishes such treatment to be withheld, the physician or hospital following the directive will not have committed homicide, suicide, assisted suicide, or active euthanasia.

Learn more about New Jersey euthanasia laws, or the absence of such laws, with the following table and links to related resources.

Code Section

26:2H-77; 26:2H-54

Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?

No one has the right to or is authorized to practice active euthanasia.

Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures

Withholding or withdrawing of life-sustaining treatment pursuant to an advanced directive for health care when performed in good faith shall not constitute homicide, suicide, assisted suicide, or active euthanasia.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey health care attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more information on New Jersey’s euthanasia laws, feel free to click on the links listed below to access additional resources. Because the issue of euthanasia generally arises in specific contexts, check out FindLaw’s related sections on elder law and health care law. Finally, if you’d like more individualized advice or assistance, consider consulting or retaining a health care attorney.

Research the Law

New Jersey Euthanasia Laws: Related Resources

Next Step Search and Browse
Contact a qualified attorney.
(e.g., Chicago, IL or 60611)