New York Governor Urges Legislature to Pass Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill

April 9, 2019

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in an interview with Albany radio station WAMC today that the state legislature should pass medical aid-in-dying legislation. Below is the highlight of it.

“I say pass the bill … the older we get and the better medicine gets, the more we’ve seen people suffer for too, too long … it’s a situation we have to address definitely.”

“This is the first time Governor Cuomo has publicly spoken on this issue, so his statement of support should turbocharge lawmakers’ efforts to pass medical aid-in-dying legislation,” said Corinne Carey, New York and New Jersey campaign director for Compassion & Choices. “There’s no reason New Yorkers should not have the same option to peacefully end needless suffering this year that New Jerseyans will have in just a few months.”

On March 25, New York’s next door neighbor, New Jersey, passed a medical aid-in-dying bill after nearly seven years of debate on it and Governor Phil Murphy pledged to sign it into law, putting competitive pressure on New York lawmakers to pass its medical aid-in-dying legislation.

A Medscape survey of New York physicians, released on Jan. 28 when the bill was reintroduced, found that 56 percent of doctors support medical aid in dying. Their support increased to 67 percent when the surveyed physicians learned the details and provisions of the legislation.

A Quinnipiac University Poll last spring showed New York voters supported medical aid in dying by more than a 2-1 margin (63% vs. 29%). Majority support included virtually every demographic group measured in the survey, including party affiliation, race, religion, sex, region, education level and age group.

Finally, The New York Times, The [Albany] Times Union, Buffalo News, The [Middletown] Times Herald-Record, and [Oneonta] Daily Star have written editorials endorsing medical aid in dying since 2015. Below are excerpts of these editorial endorsements.


[Middletown, NY] Times Herald-Record, “Albany must debate right-to-die legislation,” April 17, 2019

In states where this is not a theoretical argument, most notably Oregon which has the most experience, New York has a model to follow ensuring that those who choose to end their lives will not be influenced by others to make this decision…”

[Oneonta, NY] Daily Star, “Aid-in-dying bill should get state approval,” May 6, 2018

“This legislation would not mandate those who are near the end of their lives to take life-ending medication. It just gives those who are suffering an option.”

[Middletown, NY] Times Herald-Record, “Aid-in-dying legislation slowly gaining support,” April 24, 2018

“Each year that passes provides another chance to examine the experience in the other states, another chance to show that while there are those who will always be opposed to this idea in principle, the practical objections and concerns about abuse are overstated.”

[Middletown, NY] Times Herald-Record, “Ruling on aid-in-dying may hamper legislation,” September 11, 2017

“The experience in other states demonstrates conclusively that the concerns about creating more victims have been met. All states that have enacted such laws have broad and deep safeguards and require transparency to avoid just such victimization.”

Buffalo News, “Terminally ill should have access to help in ending their suffering,” June 1, 2017

“Six states and the District of Columbia, along with Canada, already allow some level of physician assistance for terminally ill patients who choose to die. Terminally ill New Yorkers in intractable pain deserve the same opportunity under carefully considered guidelines.”

[Albany, NY] Times Union, “Suffering’s silent treatment,” July 5, 2015

“…such spiritual beliefs are far from universal. They should not be used to hinder intelligent, compassionate laws that respect the right of suffering people, should they choose, to choose to die peacefully, with dignity, on their own terms.”

The New York Times, “Offering a Choice to the Terminally Ill,” March 14, 2015

“As local lawmakers around the country debate the bills, they should consider how successfully and responsibly the law has been carried out in Oregon…The law provides layers of safeguards to ensure proper diagnosis of the disease, determine a patient’s competency to make the decision, and protect against coercion.”

You can listen to the interview of Governor Cuomo about medical aid in dying by clicking on the link below and listening to the portion between the 21:17 and 22:16 marks.

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