Albany Times Union: Commentary: Protect bodily autonomy by authorizing medical aid in dying

An excerpt from The Albany Times Union commentary, “Protect bodily autonomy by authorizing medical aid in dying,” by Peru resident and former NYS Assemblymember Janet L. Duprey, published May 23, 2022:


...I am a lifelong Catholic Republican who has always believed in bodily autonomy. As an Assembly member from 2007-2016, I always stood up publicly for reproductive rights, including as an early sponsor of the Reproductive Health Act. Enacted in 2019, it added constitutional protections to the 1970 New York law from the Roe decision to ensure access to care throughout a woman’s pregnancy if her health or life is at risk, or a pregnancy is not viable.

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s draft opinion, New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins correctly concluded, “Right to privacy, right to your body autonomy, all of those things are things that, I believe, sadly, we will have to codify in order for New Yorkers to be okay. … So much of the quality of knowing that you have control over your life’s choices makes such a difference in terms of how you proceed in life.”

As a woman with a daughter and granddaughters, I greatly appreciate the urgency for New York lawmakers to protect the bodily autonomy of pregnant women. However, bodily autonomy should not be limited to reproductive rights. It should extend from adulthood to the end of life.

That’s why lawmakers also should take urgent action to protect the bodily autonomy of people with incurable, terminal diseases to decide if they want the option to peacefully end intolerable suffering by passing the Medical Aid in Dying Act...

Clearly, bodily autonomy is under attack. It’s time for New York lawmakers to stand up to this attack in all its forms. Lawmakers who stand up for one right to bodily autonomy should stand up for them all.

Otherwise, bodily autonomy is a convenient, meaningless political slogan.



New York Campaign Update Call

Join us via Zoom on Tuesday, June 7 at 7 p.m. ET for a statewide campaign update following the conclusion of the 2022 legislative session.

RSVP Today!