Alliance Partners Speak Out At Assisted Suicide Hearing

Albany, NY – Today, doctors, patients, caregivers and advocates for persons with disabilities will gather in the Legislative Office Building as a show of opposition to legislation (A.2383-A), a bill that would repeal New York’s constitutional and long-standing ban on physician-assisted suicide. The Assembly Health Committee will convene a public hearing on the subject beginning at 10:00 am in Hearing Room C. Opponents of physician-assisted suicide will be attending the hearing and wearing purple t-shirts to communicate opposition to the proposed legislation. Among those who will testify are the following partners in the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide, all of whom are available for public comment:

Kristen Hanson, Community Relations Advocate for the Patients’ Rights Action Fund
(609) 759-0322 Ext. 502
“Legalizing assisted suicide will result in more abuse and less choice for those who are most vulnerable.  I know this. I am the widow of JJ Hanson, a vibrant 36-year-old father who died of terminal brain cancer less than 4 months ago. I can assure you, as he was dying, my husband wanted, and needed, better access to in-home hospice services, but he couldn’t get it. Where was his choice? New York ranks 48th among the 50 states for hospice utilization and it has the second-lowest number of providers per beneficiary. The State Legislature should be promoting better access to hospice and palliative care, rather than pushing assisted suicide.”
Kathryn Carroll, Esq., Policy Analyst, Center for Disability Rights
(518) 320-7100 Ext. 2209
“The mere suggestion that disability acquired as the result of illness is cause enough to end one’s life is a devaluation of disabled peoples’ lives, and it’s offensive. Our focus should be on expanding access to services and supports that allow people to live with dignity, rather than assisting them in committing suicide.”
“You cannot argue that there is not an economic incentive–on the part of insurance companies or families and caregivers–to contemplate or even encourage someone committing assisted suicide. As long these external influences exist, the promise of a choice to end one’s life is a lie.”
Sally White, MD
(518) 483-8370
“The legalization of doctor-assisted suicide would profoundly undermine the trust between doctor and patient and turn the healing profession on its head. We need to better train medical professionals in palliative medicine and pain management protocols in order to relieve terminal patients of their physical suffering. We need more and better end-of-life care in New York. People wouldn’t feel so hopeless if they had access to mental health, in-home, hospice and palliative care, as well as family respite service. We need to provide aid-in-living, rather than so-called ‘aid-in-dying’.”
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The New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide is an informal association of many diverse organizations, institutions, agencies and individuals in New York State committed to preventing the legalization of assisted suicide in the state. They include representatives of the following communities: disability rights, patients’ rights, health care, civil rights, senior rights and various faith-based advocacy organizations.
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    Albany, NY 12224