Countless New Yorkers suffer every day the New York State Legislature delays a vote on the Medical Aid in Dying Act. Each day until lawmakers adjourned for 2021, Compassion & Choices shared with lawmakers 60 Reasons to pass the bill NOW. Read each reason below, then urge your lawmakers to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act NOW.

See the advocates behind reasons 1-50 in our “50 Reasons” booklet, linked here.

The scroll below will include each reason as they are posted. Click a reason for more details.

Reason #1: Because this isn’t about politics. It’s about peace at the end of life…

Reason #2: Because those who are chronically subjected to health disparities deserve to learn about and have access to end-of-life options that can help them achieve peace, comfort, and dignity at the end of life…

Reason #3: So that no one’s final weeks are spent worrying about possible uncontrollable suffering at life’s end…

Reason #4: So that families can come together and celebrate a life well-lived as a loved one transitions on her own terms…

Reason #5: So that at the end of my life, I have the autonomy that I fought so hard for since my first day in a wheelchair…

Reason #6: So that no one’s brother has to die alone to protect his family from prosecution…

Reason #7: So that no one’s sister has to research the best way to take her own life…

Reason #8: So that no family has to watch their mother starve to death for 11 long and torturous days…

Reason #9: Because I have had patients who have suffered needlessly at the end of life, despite our best attempts to deliver excellent palliative care…

Reason #10: So those who believe in a loving god can deliver themselves into God’s hands, exercising their own free will to end needless suffering…

Reason #11: So that a physician can honor their compassionate and ethical commitment to a patient’s autonomy…

Reason #12: So that I might have peace of mind and avoid unbearable suffering in my final days like my brother was able to…

Reason #13: So that everyone can die in a way that’s consistent with their own faith, values, and beliefs…

Reason #14: So that no one has to stand by helplessly as their husband repeatedly pleads: help me die…

Reason #15: Because giving me the option of medical aid in dying would free me to spend all my remaining energy just living, knowing that I would not end up in a dark hole of suffering…

Reason #16: So that no one has to watch their strong Marine brother wither away in a hospital bed and suffer needlessly at the end of life…

Reason #17: Because sometimes the greatest reverence for life is to end human suffering…

Reason #18: So that no one’s Thanksgiving dinner ends with a shotgun to the head in the barn out back because nothing else could provide relief…

Reason #19: So that all New Yorkers have the opportunity to be masters of their own fate…

Reason #20: So that no one has to give that last dose of morphine and carry the burden of believing you’ve just ended your loved one’s life…

Reason #21: So that when you know your time in this world will be cut short, you can live your life with less fear and more joy…

Reason #22: So that a beloved mother has the option to lie in her own bed, in her own home, held by her family as she takes her final breaths…

Reason #23: So that no one has to deal with the horror of her husband’s failed attempt to end his own life…

Reason #24: Because an ethical review of the evidence and experience of over more than two decades has shown that there is absolutely no cause for concern…

Reason #25: So that no one is forced to be at someone else’s mercy for pain management and comfort care at the end of life after enduring countless treatments, procedures, and side effects in order to live as long as possible…

Reason #26: So that after more than 30 years of a vibrant life together, no one has to remember the final moments of a life well-lived as ones spent in agony…

Reason #27: Because as a Catholic who respects other people’s faiths, I believe it’s not for anyone to stand in the way of this compassionate option being available for someone else…

Reason #28: Because requests for medical aid in dying are not a failure of hospice or palliative care, they are an opportunity to improve the end-of-life care experience…

Reason #29: Because, while we didn’t have a lot to say about how we got here, each of us should have autonomy in our decisions about how we leave…

Reason #30: So that all New Yorkers can determine how they manage their disease and their last days…

Reason #31: So that no New Yorker is left with only one option: starving themselves to death in order to have any end-of-life autonomy…

Reason #32: So that someone who has faced serious illness with resolute dignity and a will to keep living as long as she can is afforded the same dignity of the option to die on her own terms when there are no more treatment options left…

Reason #33: Because even excellent hospice care can’t alleviate all suffering…

Reason #34: So that no one has to die in agony despite receiving world-class palliative care at a top NYC hospital…

Reason #35: So that no one has to worry when they open the front door that they’ll find their girlfriend has taken her own life…

Reason #36: So that no one has to leave the home they love, their family, and their friends to die on their own terms…

Reason #37: So that no one is in the other room begging a doctor to increase pain medication when a loved one who asked for help to die takes her final breath…

Reason #38: So that no one’s strong Irish Catholic dad has to beg for help to die…

Reason #39: Because New Yorkers deserve the same option of a peaceful death that my brother had because he lived in Washington State…

Reason #40: So that doctors can respond to each person’s unique clinical circumstances using their values and preferences rather than the doctor’s own…

Reason #41: So that no one has to hear their
husband ask her to shoot him to end unbearable suffering…

Reason #42: Because authorizing medical aid in dying brings conversations about end of life out of the shadows and leads to improvements in end-of-life care for everyone, even if they don’t use the law…

Reason #43: So that no one has to watch her once-vibrant husband starve to death…

Reason #44: So that no one’s daughter is robbed of precious, sacred time with their mother because of fear of suffering…

Reason #45: So that a daughter’s promise to her mother that she won’t have to suffer can be honored…

Reason #46: Because health justice means allowing people agency at the end of their lives…

Reason #47: So that no one has to consider breaking the law to grant their loved one’s last wish: to die in peace without needless suffering…

Reason #48: Because knowing I have the option of a peaceful death when all else fails will improve the quality of the time that I have left…

Reason #49: “Because preventing doctors from prescribing medication to a dying patient that they can take to end their lives peacefully causes unnecessary suffering and harm… / el evitar que los médicos receten un medicamento a un paciente que se está muriendo para terminar su vida pacíficamente, causa sufrimiento y daño innecesario….

Reason #50: So the last moments of a loved one’s life can be spent embracing them…

Reason #51: Because even those who wouldn’t want medical aid in dying for themselves believe that the option should be available to everyone…

Reason #52: So that despite the pain of losing a daughter, a father’s lasting memory can be of her peaceful death…

Reason #53: Because a daughter who is a doctor shouldn’t have to risk her medical practice to help her father avoid needless suffering…

Reason #54: Because medical aid in dying is not giving up on life, but allowing us to make our own decisions when the time comes…

Reason #55: Because no New Yorker should have to die from choking on their own vomit when people in other states have the compassionate option of medical aid in dying…

Reason #56: Because the decision about how to spend their last hours on this earth should belong to the person who is dying…

Reason #57: Because each year lawmakers fail to act, people without the compassionate option of medical aid in dying will suffer needlessly…

Reason #58: Because Black New Yorkers should have the power to determine what kind of care they want at the end of life…

Reason #59: Because families benefit when dying people can chart their own end-of-life journey…

Reason #60: Because every year lawmakers fail to act, more New Yorkers suffer…

Reason #58: Because Black New Yorkers should have the power to determine what kind of care they want at the end of life.  

As a hospice volunteer, patient care tech and a volunteer at the Hope Lodge, Rochester area resident Ayanna Jackson has been up close and personal with cancer patients and those who are suffering.

"Expanding end-of-life care options to include medical aid in dying would most definitely benefit our community. Black families shouldn’t have to suffer or see their loved ones die in pain."

Read Ayanna's Story

Reason #57: Because each year lawmakers fail to act, people without the compassionate option of medical aid in dying will suffer needlessly.  

Raymond D. Smith, Jr. watched helplessly as his wife Anne suffered for eleven days as she chose the only legal option in New York, to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED).

"Skeptics who watch a death such as Anne’s become believers. A couple of years ago, one state legislator observed of his colleagues, 'Everyone is one bad death away from supporting [medical aid in dying].'"

Read Raymond's Story

Reason #56: Because the decision about how to spend their last hours on this earth should belong to the person who is dying.  

After losing her sister-in-law, Rockville Centre advocate Karin Johnson recognized the importance of having end-of-life options. Now as Karin’s mom faces a terminal illness, she is urging lawmakers to authorize medical aid in dying.

"New Yorkers deserve this option. Only they know how their last hours on this earth should be. Only they should decide."

Read Karin's Story

Reason #55: Because no New Yorker should have to die from choking on their own vomit when people in other states have the compassionate option of medical aid in dying.  

Bob Field's wife Deborah died after a fierce nine year battle with cervical cancer.

"I was born and raised in NJ and came to 'progressive' NYC in 1972. If I’m diagnosed with a terminal illness and given a short time to live, I will move back to NJ (the ultimate irony), establish residency and avail myself of the compassionate option of NJ’s medical aid in dying law."

Read Bob's Story

Reason #53: Because a daughter who is a doctor shouldn’t have to risk her medical practice to help her father avoid needless suffering.  

Maggie Carpenter's father died without access to medical aid in dying.

"Medical aid in dying is a choice. Some people would never consider it and that is their choice. Even many who are prescribed lethal medications never use them, but at least they know they have that option. Lawmakers have the power to relieve suffering now by making sure that everyone has a choice."

Read Maggie's Story

Reason #49: because preventing doctors from prescribing medication to a dying patient that they can take to end their lives peacefully causes unnecessary suffering and harm. / el evitar que los médicos receten un medicamento a un paciente que se está muriendo para terminar su vida pacíficamente, causa sufrimiento y daño innecesario.  

Dr. Jaime R. Torres is the former regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and president of Latinos for Healthcare Equality.

"For my 'boricua' friend Miguel, and my other dying Latino brothers and sisters, I fully support the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act."

Read Dr. Torres's Story

Reason #47: So that no one has to consider breaking the law to grant their loved one’s last wish: to die in peace without needless suffering.  

Betty Rollin is Emmy Award-winning journalist, author and former correspondent for NBC News. Her bestselling 1985 memoir Last Wish deals with her mother Ida's plea for help to die peacefully, and Betty's actions to fulfill her mother's end-of-life wishes. Her husband died of cancer in November 2020 facing the same grim options her mother did over 3 decades ago.

"I am 85 now and I am asking—begging—lawmakers to pass New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act—in memory of my husband, for me, and for everyone else who will die someday who would be comforted just to know the law is there."

Read Betty's Story

Reason #42: Because authorizing medical aid in dying brings conversations about end of life out of the shadows and leads to improvements in end-of-life care for everyone, even if they don’t use the law.  

A family physician from Saranac Lake and medical director for the Tri-Lakes division of High Peaks Hospice, Dr. Federman supports the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act.

"Hospice and palliative care have gone a long way in correcting this. The addition of medical aid in dying is needed to provide a full range of options for all people seeking end-of-life care."

Read Dr. Federman's Story

Reason #37: So that no one is in the other room begging a doctor to increase pain medication when a loved one who asked for help to die takes her final breath.  

Cara's sister, Lisa, died painfully from pancreatic cancer at age 53.

"Lisa’s last words to me were, 'Help me.' I urge lawmakers to agree that this is just wrong and needs to change. Heed my sister’s cry for help and stop deathbeds from being turned into torture chambers throughout New York. Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act."

Read Cara's Story

Reason #32: So that someone who has faced serious illness with resolute dignity and a will to keep living as long as she can is afforded the same dignity of the option to die on her own terms when there are no more treatment options left.  

A Manhattan resident living with a life limiting illness, Ida Schmertz advocates for New York's Medical Aid in Dying Act.

"I will continue to fight against chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and to work for medical aid in dying, which I believe should be an option available to every terminally ill, mentally competent adult in New York."

Read Ida's Story

Reason #31: So that no New Yorker is left with only one option: starving themselves to death in order to have any end-of-life autonomy.  

A Long Island resident, humorist and author, Eve Eliot witnessed her husband, Jim, die by using Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking (VSED).

"Jim died on May 24, six days after starting his fast. I was by his side. We are grateful he was able to exercise some control over the timing of his death but fervently hope for better options for dying New Yorkers in the future."

Read Eve's Story

Reason #29: Because, while we didn’t have a lot to say about how we got here, each of us should have autonomy in our decisions about how we leave.  

A grief counselor based in Harlem, Avery advocates for medical aid in dying in New York.

"I’m not interested in being sick, and going through all the procedures, when I get to that point in my life, I know exactly what I’m going to do, and I just pray that I have the ability to do that. I have the right to choose how I want to transition, if that happens."

Read Avery's Story

Reason #28: Because requests for medical aid in dying are not a failure of hospice or palliative care, they are an opportunity to improve the end-of-life care experience.  

Peggy's mother, Helen, was unable to die in accordance with her values.

"Requests for medical aid in dying are not a failure of hospice or palliative care, they are an opportunity to improve the end-of-life care experience. They are an opportunity to honor the beliefs and preferences of each unique individual and ensure that they have the option to die with dignity when they decide that the pain and suffering from their terminal disease are too great to withstand."

Read Peggy's Story

Reason #27: Because as a Catholic who respects other people’s faiths, he believes it’s not for anyone to stand in the way of this compassionate option being available for someone else.  

Guillermo Chacon is President of the Latino Commission on AIDS, founder of the Hispanic Health Network and a cancer survivor, he supports medical aid-in-dying legislation.

"The harsh reality is that no matter how hard we try, we cannot escape the cycle of life and death. My belief is that if the time comes when we can’t bear the suffering that afflicted people like Miguel Carrasquillo and so many of my friends who died of AIDS or cancer, a merciful God will understand that we all should have the option to die peacefully and with dignity."

Read Guillermo's Story

Reason #26: So that after more than 30 years of a vibrant life together, no one has to remember the final moments of a life well-lived as ones spent in agony.  

Florrie Burke continues to advocate for medical aid in dying in memory of her spouse, pioneering filmmaker and activist Barbara Hammer.

"I’m in my mid-70s and in relatively good health, but after watching Barbara die with needless suffering, the last thing I want to do when I die — as we all will do one day — is repeat her end-of-life experience. I want options."

Read Florrie's Story

Reason #25: So that no one is forced to be at someone else’s mercy for pain management and comfort care at the end of life after enduring countless treatments, procedures, and side effects in order to live as long as possible.  

Susan Rahn is a longtime advocate for metastatic breast cancer awareness and medical aid in dying.

"I have been monumentally lucky; however, one day that luck will run out. When it does, I want to know Albany did not let me down. Join me in telling our lawmakers it’s time to do what’s right. It’s time to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act."

Read Susan's Story

Reason #24: Because an ethical review of the evidence and experience of over more than two decades has shown that there is absolutely no cause for concern.  

Dr. Art Caplan, Ph.D. a professor of bioethics at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and founding director of NYULMC’s Division of Medical Ethics.

It is the creation of a policy that respects how some, likely very few, of the dying who will choose to manage the inevitable. That is a moral option the state of New York should permit for the terminally ill.

Read Dr. Kaplan's Story

Reason #18: So that no one's Thanksgiving dinner ends with a shotgun to the head in the barn out back because nothing else could provide relief.  

A board-certified internist with subspecialty certification in pulmonary medicine and preventive medicine, Dr. David Pratt served as Commissioner of Public Health Services for Schenectady County from 2009-2012.

"As a physician who would have liked to give my patients the gift of peace at the end of their lives, my goal is to make the medical practice of aid in dying an open, accessible and legitimate option for terminally ill, mentally capable adults with less than six months to live."

Read Dr. Pratt's Story

Reason #11: So that a physician can honor their compassionate and ethical commitment to a patient’s autonomy  

The co-founder of Hospice Buffalo (1978) and an internationally recognized palliative care provider, Dr. Robert Milch supports medical aid-in-dying legislation.

"As a physician, however skillful in symptom management and earnest in the supportive engagement of the patient and family, I cannot in conscience dictate when that point of suffering is reached for one with a terminal illness."

Read Dr. Milch's Story

Reason #9: Because I have had patients who have suffered needlessly at the end of life, despite our best attempts to deliver excellent palliative care.  

Dr. Al Giwa, LL.B, MD, MBA, FAAEM, FACEP, is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

"Dying with dignity may go by many names but the key is to allow the independent and autonomous dignity of the patient to be maintained in their final days."

Read Dr. Giwa's Story

Reason #8: So that no family has to watch their mother starve to death for 11 long and torturous days.  

Janet Duprey is a former Republican member of the New York State Assembly (District 115).

"I am not going to presume that my Dad, a devout Irish Catholic, or my Mom an equally devout Methodist, would have chosen to ask for medical aid in dying at the end. But I am certain that they deserved the right to choose their own destiny, and I want the right to choose my own destiny in the end."

Read Janet's Story

Reason #2: Because those who are chronically subjected to health disparities deserve to learn about and have access to end-of-life options that can help them achieve peace, comfort, and dignity at the end of life.  

Dr. Jeff Gardere is a clinical psychologist, an ordained Interfaith Minister and an associate professor at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in New York City.

There are too many terminally ill, dying New Yorkers who are unnecessarily suffering at the end of life. There are too many New Yorkers who passed away advocating for passage of this law. We owe it to all of them to provide an end-of-life option that offers peace, comfort and dignity.

Read Dr. Jeff's Story