HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — Connecticut needs a right-to-die law on the books as an option for those near death who are ailing and unable to receive sufficient pain relief, a state lawmaker says.

Sen. Gary Winfield, D-New Haven, became a co-sponsor of a right-to-die bill after watching his own mother die in agonizing death from an illness he says painkillers couldn’t help.

“It caused her at a couple of points actually to wish that she weren’t alive any longer,” Winfield told WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau. “And that went very much against her core beliefs.”

The legislation, now under discussion in Hartford, has lawmakers divided on the issue.

“I often say to people, ‘You can think of this issue from where we sit right now, but it’s a different story when you go through it,” Winfield said.

Opponents say because there would be no witnesses to the death required under the proposed state law, there would be potential for abuse.

But Winfield said strong safeguards are written into the bill. He’s hoping it will pass this year.

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