Assembly Urged to Pass Medical Aid in Dying Act
Although 72 percent of Americans believe mentally capable adults who are terminally ill should have the option to end their suffering using prescription medication given to them by their doctor, 41 states still prohibit the practice of medical aid in dying. In January, Compassion & Choices—a national nonprofit that works to help patients navigate their end-of-life journey—launched its 2021 campaign to pass the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act (A4321).
This legislation would allow a terminally ill adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live the option to request, obtain and, if they choose, take medication to die peacefully in their sleep if their suffering becomes unbearable. Two doctors must verify that the patient is mentally capable of making that medical decision.
The bill is modeled after the Oregon Death with Dignity Act, which includes numerous safeguards and has been in practice for more than 20 years without a single instance of abuse or coercion. If passed, New York would join nine other states and Washington D.C. in allowing terminally ill adults to make this private and personal decision.
“For the last six years, we at Compassion & Choices have been working to make New York the next state to authorize medical aid in dying,” says Corinne Carey, the nonprofit’s senior campaign director. “New Yorkers from every corner of the state and every demographic support medical aid in dying. We currently have 48 cosponsors of the bill in the Assembly who reflect the diversity of New York State. The momentum to pass this bill is growing and becoming stronger every day.
“This year we promised lawmakers that we would give them 60 reasons that they should pass this bill—one for every day they are in session this year. Each reason comes from a real New Yorker and highlights the stories of those who are terminally ill, their loved ones, as well as faith leaders, legal experts, and medical professionals. Each reason conveys that the time to stop the suffering is now.”For more info, contact Corinne Carey at 518.898.8240 or [email protected], or visit CompassionAndChoices.org.