Albany, NY – Today, the New York State Assembly Health Committee held a vote on a bill to legalize assisted suicide for the terminally ill. This brand new legislation, A.10059 (Paulin), was introduced on May 10 of this year, giving lawmakers and the general public very little time for review. The bill narrowly passed.
JJ Hanson, a terminal brain cancer survivor and President of the Patients’ Rights Action Fund reacted saying, “Regardless of how you feel about assisted suicide, this shotgun process represents state government at its worst. The passage of A.10059 by the Assembly Health Committee is a great example of the lack of transparency that plagues Albany. Without allowing adequate debate or public testimony the supporters of A.10059 have served an injustice to the citizens of New York State and passed assisted suicide by a narrow margin. This action is not just an insult to good government, A.10059 is a danger to patients, persons with disabilities, and New York’s most vulnerable population.
“Thankfully, many members of the Health Committee have demonstrated their grave concern for vulnerable New Yorkers who may be harmed by this dangerous public policy, or worse yet, whose autonomy will be compromised and who will feel as though the healthcare system gives them no choice but to kill themselves,” Hanson continued.
Michael Burgess, former Director of the State Office for the Aging and a spokesperson for the NY Alliance Against Assisted Suicide, questioned why elected officials would choose to do business in this fashion. “Less than three weeks ago, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled that our state’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. 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,” Burgess concluded.