New York State Council of Churches: “Supports New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act and Urges the Legislature to Act Swiftly to Pass It.”

Council of Churches – and its 7,500 Congregations – Joins Catholics Vote Common Good, NY Unitarian Universalist Justice and Other Religious Organizations in Support
June 5, 2024

Corinne Carey, senior New York campaign director of Compassion & Choices, applauded the New York State Council of Churches for issuing a memo in support of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act.

Medical aid in dying allows a terminally ill, mentally capable adult with six months or less to live to request a prescription from their doctor for medication they can take to die peacefully when their suffering becomes too great to bear. Ten states, including New Jersey, Vermont and Maine, as well as Washington, D.C., have authorized medical aid in dying.

In its memo in support, the New York Council of Churches said:

“We are all interested in offering compassionate pastoral care to people who must endure life threatening illnesses with no prospect of relief. We understand that when it comes to end of life matters being overly dogmatic without taking account of the complexity of the pastoral situation rarely has a good outcome.

“For these reasons, we support the right of terminally ill individuals to have a full range of choices for dying in ways that provide them comfort. Medical aid in dying provides peace of mind to terminally ill patients…The availability of this option even for those who choose not to take the medication in the end, will improve the quality of end-of-life care for terminally ill New Yorkers.

“Expanding choice and care at the end of life provides New Yorkers autonomy. Studies have shown that patients who receive counseling about end-of-life choices score higher on quality of life and mood measures than patients who do not.

“For the aforementioned reasons, the New York State Council of Churches supports New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act and urges the legislature to act swiftly to pass it.”

A recent YouGov poll showed New Yorkers overwhelmingly support medical aid in dying, 72-23%, including strong majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents, as well as Black, white, Latino, and Asian voters, and voters from every region of the state.

Carey said: “I am grateful to the leaders of the New York State Council of Churches for their deep understanding of this issue and for demonstrating the kind of compassion for which its Protestant clergy members are well known. The Council now joins other important religious voices in support of medical aid in dying, including Catholics Vote Common Good, New York Unitarian Universalist Justice, Congregation B’nai Yisrael, St. Francis Community of Faith, among others.

“While some religious leaders unfortunately continue to oppose this important end-of-life option for dying New Yorkers – despite the support of their congregations – there are many religious leaders who understand that providing comfort and love to those imminently approaching death is the right thing to do,” Carey said.


The Medical Aid in Dying Act is supported by nearly a dozen religious organizations, including:

Buffalo Unitarian United Church

Capital District Humanist Society

Catholics Vote Common Good

Congregation B’nai Yisrael

Mobilizing Preachers & Communities (MPAC)

New York Unitarian Universalist Justice

New York State Council of Churches

Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus

St. Francis Community of Faith


The Medical Aid in Dying Act is also supported by more than 50 statewide advocacy groups, including:

1 in 9 LI Breast Cancer Action Coalition


ALS United Greater New York

Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC)

Harlem United

Indivisible Westchester

Latino Commission on AIDS

Latinos for Healthcare Equity

League of Women Voters of NYS

Medical Society of State of NY (MSSNY)

New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU)

NYS Academy of Family Physicians

NYS Bar Association

NYS Public Health Association NOW-NY

Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts

SAGE NY (Services for LGBT elders)

StateWide Senior Action Council

Westchester Coalition for Legal Abortion

WESPAC Foundation

Women’s Bar Assn. of NYS


More information on medical aid in dying and the New York campaign can be found on Compassion & Choices’ website, Facebook or Twitter.

Compassion & Choices is the nation’s oldest, largest and most active nonprofit organization committed to improving healthcare options for the end of life. Compassion & Choices New York is leading the campaign to give mentally capable, terminally ill New Yorkers the same legal option to request medical aid in dying that people currently have in 10 other states – including New York neighbors Vermont and New Jersey – as well as Washington, D.C. For more information, visit:


Contact:  Steven Greenberg, (518) 469-9858, [email protected]

Compassion & Choices
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Patricia A. González-Portillo
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VICTORY: Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed the improved End-of-Life Options Act.