New York Assembly Health Committee Passes Bill to Legalize Assisted Suicide

State   National Right to Life   May 24, 2016   |   6:37PM    Albany, NY

Having rushed the “Medical Aid in Dying Act”– A10059/S7579 was introduced just two weeks ago– the New York Assembly Health Committee yesterday narrowly approved the measure, 14-11. Eight Democratic members of the committee are sponsors of the bill.

It is urgent that you contact your legislators in the Assembly immediately and urge them to vote NO on A10059/S7579.

You can find a list at: https://nyassembly.gov/mem

For the moment, there is no action in the Senate.

The quick move in the Health Committee comes less than three weeks after the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court ruled that New York’s ban on assisting a suicide is constitutional.

“In its decision in Myers vs. Schneiderman, the Court noted that there has been no ‘societal evolution’ on this issue and there is no consensus of opinion,” said Michael Burgess, former Director of the State Office for the Aging and a spokesperson for the NY Alliance Against Assisted Suicide. “Why would our elected representatives choose to rush to vote on a brand new bill giving this kind of unprecedented power to physicians who aren’t even seeking it?” Burgess asked. “It is actions like this that have caused New Yorkers to question the way state government operates.”

A10059/ S.7579 is being promoted under the false notion that it will provide terminally ill people with merely one more “option.”

However, this is far from the truth. The “Medical Aid in Dying Act” is riddled with dangerous problems that seek to destroy existing protections for the vulnerable.

The language purports to “safeguard” assisted suicide and restrict it to the terminally ill and the competent. However, these kinds of assisted suicide proposals are opposed by medical groups (including the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association) and many in the disability right community. Safeguards simply do not work. Among the glaring omissions:

· There is no protection for those seeking assisted suicide because they suffer from treatable depression or any other mental health issue

· Predictions that someone will die in six months are often wrong;

· Abuse of elders and people with disabilities is a growing but often undetected problem

· If assisted suicide is legalized, it will quickly become the cheapest alternative to medical treatment.

It is urgent that every member of the New York Assembly Health Committee hear from you. Most legislators have never considered legislation like this, and they need to know that New York does not want to destroy existing protection for those facing a difficult diagnosis.

Printable factsheets can be found at: www.nrlc.org/medethics/directkilling

Please contact your legislators in the Assembly immediately and urge them to vote NO on A10059/S7579.

A list of names can be found at: https://nyassembly.gov/mem

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