California lawmakers approve right-to-die legislation
California lawmakers on Wednesday approved the highly controversial legislation that would allow terminally ill patients to legally put an end their lives.
After an emotional debate during which many lawmakers cited their religious faith in arguing for and against the measure, the California Assembly voted 42-33 in favor of the measure.
Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, a republican from Pleasanton, supported the measure, saying it would be cruel to deny terminally ill patients the choice in their final hours and final days.
Supporting the measure, Baker added, “I as a Christian do not pretend to know what God has in mind for all of us, why there is pain or suffering in this world. But I do know he is a merciful God. And we have the ability to allow others to have a choice.”
It is the second time that state lawmakers are trying to approve the measure into a law to allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication following the highly publicized case of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a brain cancer patient from California who had to move to Oregon to legally end her life.
Previously, the measure stalled because of religious opposition and hesitant Democrats. The renewed effort is being made after nearly two dozen states introduced similar aid-in-dying measures this year. Some states, including Oregon, Washington and Montana, already allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication to terminally-ill patients.
The California measure is now heading to the state Senate, which is widely expected to endorse it. But it is not clear where Governor Jerry Brown, an all-time Catholic, stands on the issue.
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