New York State lawmakers signal they will not act on physician assisted suicide bill in 2017

New York State lawmakers signal they will not act on physician assisted suicide bill in 2017

ALBANY – Legislation that would legalize physician assisted suicide in New York is unlikely to be taken up by state lawmakers in 2017, legislative leaders indicated Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (R-Suffolk County) said he did not support the measure and “can’t fathom a circumstance” where the Senate would take action on it.Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) also expressed reservations about the bill, calling it a “deeply emotional subject” that has to be thought out.

“I am not sure it can and will be done,” Heastie said during a joint appearance with Flanagan just outside Albany.


By Glenn Blain, New York Daily News

The remarks of the two leaders came on the same day that advocates for the bill rallied at the Capitol to press for its passage.Known as the Medical Aid in Dying Act, the measure would make New York the seventh state to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill adults who want to end their own lives.

“Lawmakers seeking reelection next year should be paying attention to what their constituents want,” said Corinne Carey, New York campaign director for the advocacy group Compassion & Choices, noting polls that show public support for the bill.   N.Y. lawmakers signal they won’t act on doctor aided suicide bill.  Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), a sponsor of the bill, conceded that it faces an uphill struggle but insisted advocates will not give up.

“It might not happen this year, but it’s going to happen in the long term because New Yorkers want it,” Paulin said.Among those speaking in favor of the bill Tuesday was Rochester resident Susan Rahn, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.

“I am not suicidal,” Rahn said. “What I don’t want is to suffer.”

Critics of the measure, however, say it devalues human life and could put vulnerable individuals under pressure from family, doctors and insurance companies to take advantage of the death option.

The state’s medical community, religious groups like the Catholic Church, and organizations representing the aged and mentally disabled oppose to legalizing physician-assisted suicide.


Source: New York Daily News