The latest from Compassion & Choices

Compassion & Choices Leads Virtual Rally, Unveils New TV Ad Featuring Dr. Jeff & Jennifer Milich, Terminally Ill Buffalo Resident

Rally featured Senator Savino, Assemblymember Paulin, Assemblymember Souffrant Forrest, disability advocate Gene Hughes

Earlier today, Compassion & Choices announced the debut of a new 30-second television ad featuring two New Yorkers, Dr. Jeff Gardere and Jennifer Milich, a terminally ill Buffalo resident, urging the Legislature to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act, which allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with six months or less to live to request a prescription from their doctor they can take when their suffering becomes too great to bear and die peacefully. 

The new ad can be seen here.

The new ad features photos of Jennifer Milich and Jennifer speaking to the camera, and Dr. Jeff speaking to the camera. The full script:

Jennifer Milich: “I may not look like I’m dying, but I am dying, and I feel the physical effects every day, all day.”

Dr. Jeff Gardere: “Albany lawmakers have the power to let New Yorkers make their own end-of-life decisions.”

Jennifer Milich: “If lawmakers leave without passing this bill, I may not have this option. I may be suffering in the end.” 

Dr. Jeff: “Stop Needless Suffering. Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.”

Also, today, Compassion & Choices kicked off the campaign to “Stop needless suffering. Pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.” in 2021 with a virtual rally. The rally included advocates, supporters, legislators, and Compassion & Choices President & CEO Kim Callinan. 

The rally can be viewed here.

Here are some quotes from the rally:

Screenshot of New York Zoom rally to launch 2021 campaign to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.

Screenshot of New York Zoom rally to launch 2021 campaign to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act.

Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), lead Senate sponsor:

“The right to peacefully end intolerable suffering at life’s inevitable end should not be determined by your city or your zip code. Terminally ill New Yorkers should have the same option of medical aid in dying to avoid needless suffering at the end of their lives as their neighbors across the George Washington Bridge or the Lake Champlain Bridge. 

“Too many New Yorkers are suffering at the end of life. This is New York and that’s unacceptable. It’s time to stop needless suffering and pass the medical aid in dying act.”

Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Westchester), lead Assembly sponsor:

“I wasn’t there for my sister’s death. That pain will live with me forever. I will never stop until we get this bill done.”

Assemblymember Phara Souffrant Forrest (D-Brooklyn), a nurse:

I support this bill. It is a beautiful bill. For me, the most important thing I can do for my patient is to ensure they maintain dignity at all times, and making sure they have the ability to have their lives conclude on their terms.” 

Compassion & Choices President and CEO Kim Callinan:

It is with passion, grit and resilience that we forge ahead to ensure that New Yorkers realize the same humanity at life’s end that their neighbors in New Jersey and Vermont already enjoy. And because when the fourth most populous state in the nation adopts the law, it will serve as a wake-up call to everyone, that individuals should have a voice and choice in their own end of life care.”

During the rally, attended by more than 150 participants, a powerful video conversation between Jennifer Milich and Assemblymember Karines Reyes (D-Bronx), an RN, was shown. 

As Compassion & Choices Senior New York Campaign Director Corinne Carey said, “This is all part of Compassion & Choices’ commitment to making 2021 the year New York authorizes medical aid in dying. There is no good reason that New Yorkers should not have this end-of-life care option that is available in New Jersey, Vermont, seven other states, as well as Washington, D.C.”

New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act is supported by New York State Academy of Family Physicians, League of Women Voters of New York State, New York Civil Liberties Union, New York State Public Health Association, StateWide Senior Action Council, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Harlem United, Latino Commission on AIDS, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, and Latinos for Healthcare Equity, among many others.