Catholic governor signs assisted suicide law 'after careful prayer'
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New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill to authorize medically assissted suicide into state law on Friday.
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Trenton, N.J., (CNA) - Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law on April 12, as one New Jersey bishop pledged to continue to oppose the "dangerous" new law.
The act was passed by the New Jersey legislature in late March, with bipartisan support. The new law will allow those deemed by a doctor to have less than six months to live to request lethal medication to end their lives. The patient then must administer the medication themselves.
In signing the bill, Murphy, a self-described "lifelong, practicing Catholic," remarked that while he was aware that the Church opposed assisted suicide he was signing the bill into law regardless.
"After careful consideration, internal reflection, and prayer, I have concluded that, while my faith may lead me to a particular decision for myself, as a public official I cannot deny this alternative to those who may reach a different conclusion," said Murphy.
"I believe this choice is a personal one and, therefore, signing this legislation is the decision that best respects the freedom and humanity of all New Jersey residents."
Bishop James F. Checchio of Metuchen condemned the governor's decision.
In a statement to CNA, Checchio called the legislation the latest in a "dangerous and frightening trend" and "a brazen attack against the sanctity of human life."
Metuchen, like all of New Jersey's dioceses, has worked against the passage of assisted suicide legislation since 2012, when it was first brought up. Even though the bill is now law, Checchio said that he will not stop the fight.
"While we are facing dark times, we will not stop from advocating for the sanctity of human life, in all stages, and we will continue to educate our legislators, our fellow Catholics and the general public about the dangers of legalized physician-assisted suicide," he said.
"Easter Sunday comes after the darkness of Good Friday, we know, so we will continue to work for Easter light to pervade our society."
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