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Wednesday, April 24, 2019


by Elane Gutterman

N.J. Gov. Phil Murphy signs the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act Friday, April 12, 2019 at the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. New Jersey joins seven other states and Washington, D.C. to enact a law permitting terminally ill patients to seek life ending medication. The law takes effect in August. (Credit: New Jersey Office of the Governor via WHYY)

The trigger for me was the research for a poem, my artful
turn on two decades of Oregon envy, wanting their Death
with Dignity to apply in New Jersey as a law abiding act.

I stumbled on the lobbying group and the way grew less abstract.
Supporters met up at the State House. Our message fine-tuned art,
we engaged lawmakers on the need for choice when near to death.

Those opposed called it suicide, minimized long-suffering death.
Finally, the bills came up for a vote, would they be enacted?
I stared at the display as votes in favor mounted like hanging art.

Work of art, my state enters the pact. Governor affirms choice in death.

In this tritina, Elane Gutterman celebrates a milestone in advocacy work with Compassion & Choices. Her poems have been published in U.S 1 Summer Fiction Issue, Kelsey Review, Patterson Literary Review, and TheNewVerse.News.