New Jersey lawmakers break from church, support assisted suicide bill

Some Catholic lawmakers are breaking with the church and supporting legislation that would let terminally ill residents obtain drugs to end their lives.

Catholic leaders have urged defeat of the measure, but The Record reports state Sen. Richard Codey, Senate President Stephen Sweeney and Assemblyman John Burzichelli all support the measure

Sweeney says it’s about helping terminally ill individuals have peaceful deaths.

The bill would offer protection to physicians who write lethal prescriptions for terminal patients.

Up to 40 percent of New Jerseyans identify as Catholic.

Catholic leaders have opposed the bill, saying they prefer alternative options including palliative, hospice and spiritual care.

The bill passed the Assembly. Its future in the Senate remains unknown.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a Catholic, is considered likely to veto the bill. He declined to comment.

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