Cahill wants study before medical aid in dying law is adopted in New York state

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By Paul Kirby

KINGSTON, N.Y. — Assemblyman Kevin Cahill is objecting to legislation that calls for making assisted suicide legal in New York state.

Cahill, D-Kingston, says he supports the concept of allowing the terminally ill to take advantage of assisted suicide, but wants the matter fully studied first by the state Department of Health commissioner.

He has sponsored a bill to mandate such a study but no final action has been taken on it by the Legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.

“While advocates are convinced that the issues surrounding this truly life-and-death matter have been sufficiently vetted, I disagree,” Cahill said in an email.

The purpose of the bill is “to provide that a mentally competent, terminally ill patient may request medication to be self-administered for the purpose of hastening the patient’s death, provided the requirements set forth in the act are met, and to provide certain protection and immunities to health care providers and other persons, including a physician who prescribes medication in compliance with the provisions of the article to the terminally ill patient to be self-administered by the patient.”

The Assembly bill, which is sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, has 34 co-sponsors.

Cahill said the legislation “has not become law though having been introduced repeatedly for a number of years.

“My proposal would resolve several issues that have been raised by both advocates and opponents of (the current Assembly bill) including practices and standards in other states and around the world, implementation, processes, rescission by or on behalf of patients, clinical criteria, who is authorized to determine eligibility, what methods or medication would be used, professional responsibilities, the role of mental health professionals, documentation required, criteria for determining the patient’s state of mind, appraisal of reported abuse, statistical data and insurance issues,” Cahill wrote. “The commissioner would also be charged with examining alternatives and other care, such as the availability of hospice services.”

Cahill, who represents the 103rd Assembly District, said that had his legislation made it through past sessions of the Legislature, assisted suicide legislation could have been in place by now.

“When I initially proposed the bill, we fashioned a quick completion date for the report so that it would not delay implementation should the Legislature authorize medical aid in dying,” Cahill said. “Had my proposal, A30 or its predecessor bills become law when first introduced, that study would have been completed and reported to the Legislature already.”

Cahill said the current version sets the deadline for completion of the study as Dec. 31, 2020.

“While I fully understand the passion and compassion that surrounds this issue, without complete, objective information and the specific input of our public health officials, I am not in support of the legislation proposed by Ms. Paulin.”

SOURCE: “Cahill wants study before medical aid in dying law is adopted in New York state“,

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