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Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act

To the Editor:

It is time to pass New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act (A2694 Paulin/S3947 Savino).

The state legislature has had four years to consider this bill, and has at least 50 co-sponsors. Governor Cuomo has publicly stated his support of medical aid-in-dying legislation. The bill would make New York the 10th state to adopt compassionate legislation expanding end-of-life options to allow a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with a prognosis of six months or less to live to request from their doctor a prescription for medication they can decide to self-ingest to die peacefully in their sleep.

Medical aid in dying is a medical practice proven by decades of experience in authorized states such as Oregon, which was the first state to pass a Death with Dignity Act (enacted in 1997). Multiple studies have shown no cases of abuse or coercion nor any civil or criminal charges filed related to the practice. Additionally, research has shown that there is no connection between denial of insurance coverage and medical aid in dying. And, according to Disabilities Rights Oregon there has never been a complaint filed that a person with disabilities was coerced into using the Death with Dignity Act.

This option is used by a small number of people as intended–to allow those who are dying to avoid needless suffering at the end of their lives. It is inaccurate to equate medical aid in dying with assisted suicide. A person seeking medical aid in dying must have a terminal illness with a prognosis of less than six months to live. They are not choosing to die–a disease is taking their life.

Passing the Medical Aid in Dying Act would give New Yorkers what the majority of us want: expanded end-of-life care options, allowing the dying person the sole authority to self-administer the medication when nothing else provides relief, and leaving this deeply personal decision to the dying person, their family, and their doctor.

Phyllis Sinclair R.N.

Vermontville

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