New York Could Join Growing Number of States Legalizing Medically Assisted Death

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By Maggie Hroncich

A years-long battle to legalize physician-assisted death is gaining traction in New York, as lawmakers there join those in a growing number of states who are considering the practice. 

Proponents of the legislation say it would help end suffering and allow terminally ill patients to die peacefully with their families and loved ones. Opponents say assisting in a patient’s death is a violation of the Hippocratic Oath and argue that it gives onto a slippery slope. They cite Canada’s skyrocketing death toll and its law that will soon allow for assisted suicide for individuals with mental health conditions.

A coalition called the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide is opposing the measure and is working to prevent its passage. The alliance includes the disability rights group Not Dead Yet, whose president warns that “assisted suicide is fundamentally a disability issue,” since many patients who receive lethal prescriptions need help with “activities of daily living, which is pretty much the definition of a disability.” 

“It’s still got a long way to go through committees and so forth, and we’re not giving up on that,” Not Dead Yet’s president, Diane Coleman, tells the Sun. “They’re pushing that this is going to happen, but so far, it hasn’t, and we have not changed our mind that this is a dangerous proposal for older, ill, and disabled people.” 

This is, she argues, especially true for Black, indigenous, and other people of color, as well as other marginalized groups, such as seniors, “all of whom have, research shows, been devalued in the healthcare system.” Doctors lack a “crystal ball” to know when or if someone is guaranteed to die soon, she adds.

Source: “New York Could Join Growing Number of States Legalizing Medically Assisted Death,” NYSun.com

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