As New York lawmakers return to Albany to kick off the home stretch of the 2022 legislative session, the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide (NYAAAS) is pleased to note that physician-assisted suicide legislation (Bill S.6471-Savino/A.4321-Paulin) has not advanced in either house of the New York State Legislature. At this juncture, it appears that the bill lacks the votes to advance in the Assembly or the Senate. We expect that the 2022 legislative session will end in early June without any further movement on this legislation.
It is the policy of the state of New York to help prevent suicide. The New York State Office of Mental Health offers a variety of important suicide prevention resources, including education and training. During the current legislative session, suicide-prevention bills have been introduced by members of both parties. Those bills include proposals to establish task forces on Black youth suicide prevention, Latina suicide prevention, and LGBT youth suicide prevention; to establish a rural suicide prevention council; to require student suicide prevention training; to establish a task force on suicide prevention and mental health for veterans; to recognize an official state flag for raising awareness of veteran suicide; and to identify and develop suicide prevention literature for teachers. These bills reflect the fact that suicide prevention is a matter of significant concern to members of the Legislature.
State law makes it a crime to assist another person in attempting suicide; this law has been upheld in both state and federal courts. By allowing doctors and pharmacists to furnish lethal drugs to terminally-ill persons, the physician-assisted suicide bill would create an exception to this anti-assisted suicide policy. The bill necessarily assumes that the lives of persons with terminal illnesses are not worth living and have less value than the lives of other New Yorkers. This is a dangerous falsehood. Our state should protect the life of every New Yorker, and it should never send the message that some New Yorkers’ lives are unworthy of protection.
NYAAAS thanks those members of the New York State Legislature who have taken a stand against physician-assisted suicide. We encourage every member of the State Legislature to follow their example.
Any person considering suicide is encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Suicide is not a solution. Your life is worth living.