Doctor assisted suicide still topic for debate in New York State

Local News

ALBANY, NY – Since the end of New York’s legislative session, ‘Medical Aid in Dying’ laws have gone into effect in New Jersey and Maine.

The so-called ‘Death with Dignity’ legislation allows the terminally ill to choose when they die with the assistance of a doctor.

But, as NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca shows us it’s still a contentious issue.

A total of nine states and the District of Columbia have authorized ‘right to die’ laws according to the advocacy group Compassion & Choices.
Several more states have had legislation introduced this year including New York.

(Corinne Carey, Compassion & Choices NY Campaign Director))
I think dying New Yorkers are looking over the border to New Jersey and to Vermont and they’re seeing that more than 20 percent of Americans now have this critical compassionate end of life option.

A pair of Assembly and Senate bills were introduced last winter but never made it out of their respective health committees despite rallies at the Capitol for change.

Similar versions of the bill have been introduced since 2015.
Supporters hope that when lawmakers return this winter things will be different.

(Corinne Carey, Compassion & Choices NY Campaign Director))
I think in the past we’ve had a legislature that maybe hasn’t looked to the evidence and now we have lawmakers in positions of power that look at the evidence and look and see that this is a time tested practice.

((Seth Morgan, American Academy of Neurology Fellow))
As a practicing physician, I have seen very poor outcomes of end of life for people who did not want to go through the suffering of a terminal illness.

Meanwhile the legislation has faced opposition from other groups.
The Center for Disability Rights says it could be open to abuse.

((Kathryn Carroll, Center for Disability Rights Manager of Government Affairs))
Often people don’t see this as a disability issue and that’s the way that we really need to approach this… there’s just nothing, there’s nothing that’s been proposed that’s in the bill currently that could remove that risk.

New York State Right to Life has stated it “strongly opposes” the bill as well.

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