Faced with a terminal diagnosis, New Yorkers deserve the full range of medically appropriate options for care at the end of life.

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Compassion & Choices New York’s core mission is to support, educate and empower healthcare consumers to demand the best possible end-of-life care that respects patients’ autonomy. Our legislative agenda includes, but is not limited to, advocating for the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act, which would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults to have the option of medical aid in dying to peacefully end intolerable suffering when no other option will provide relief.

We recognize the unique challenges lawmakers must tackle this year in the face of our national public health crisis, and as COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the importance of a compassionate death, supporters around the country continue to demand more options and autonomy at end-of-life.

Watch this space for resources and facts about medical aid in dying, and the latest updates in our campaign to bring this compassionate option to terminally ill New Yorkers.

With gratitude,

Corinne Carey
Senior Campaign Director

The Facts About Medical Aid in Dying

Medical aid in dying is optional.
Optional for patients and optional for doctors. No person is required to use it. No doctor is mandated to provide it. It is illegal to force someone to use it.

Medical aid in dying includes strict eligibility requirements.
A patient must be an adult, have six months or less to live, be able to make an informed health care decision and be able to take the medication themselves.

The New York Medical Aid in Dying Act includes more than a dozen safeguards.
Two doctors must confirm that the patient has six months or less to live — due to terminal illness, not because of age or disability. Two doctors and two independent witnesses must confirm that no coercion exists.

Medical aid in dying is a medical practice proven by decades of experience in authorized states.
In more than 20 years of experience since the first law was enacted in Oregon, and an additional 40+ years of combined evidence and cumulative data from the laws passed in other jurisdictions there is not a single substantiated case of abuse or coercion nor any civil or criminal charges filed related to the practice. Not one.

Medical aid in dying gives patients autonomy.
This law would put the dying person in charge. Only they can request the medication. They take it themselves — no one can administer the medication to them. And they can change their mind at any time. Medical aid in dying improves end-of-life care. Studies show palliative (“comfort”) care gets better for patients — and families — in states with medical aid in dying.

Medical aid in dying helps far more people than those who choose to use it.
Research shows just having medical aid in dying as an option relieves fear and anxiety — even for those who never choose the option.

New York Doctors support medical aid in dying.
A 2019 Medscape survey reported that when New York physicians learned about how medical aid in dying would be implemented in the bill before the state Legislature, their level of support jumped 18 points, from a 30-point margin (56%–26%) in support to a 48-point margin (67%–19%) in support.

Learn more about New York physicians’ support for medical aid in dying:

New Yorkers want medical aid in dying. By a more than a 2–1 margin (63%–29%) New York voters support, “allowing doctors to legally prescribe lethal drugs to help terminally ill patients end their own lives.” (Quinnipiac, 2018)

Medical aid in dying is currently authorized in eleven jurisdictions. 
They include Oregon (1994), Washington (2008), Montana (2009), California (2015), Colorado (2016), the District of Columbia (2016), Hawai‘i (2018), Maine (2019), New Mexico (2021), and our neighbors in Vermont (2013) and New Jersey (2019).

See our Medical Aid in Dying State Utilization Reports here (Last updated Feb. 1, 2021).

New York Organizations that Support Medical Aid in Dying

A printable version of this list is available here.

The 2021 Campaign to Pass the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act

Below you will find a list of campaign materials that will be updated throughout New York’s 2021 legislative session, sorted with the most recently published items displayed first.

  • December 14, 2021 – The Buffalo News: Another Voice: Medical aid-in-dying bill needs a legislative push by Ari Klein, Dr. Milch’s grandson
  • Compassion & Choices NY Video: Real Stories. Real New Yorkers. Hospice Buffalo co-founder Dr. Robert Milch (1943–2021)
  • Empire ReportOn His Deathbed, A Doctor Asks Legislature to Pass Medical Aid in Dying Act by Robert Milch, MD, FACS
  • Compassion & Choices NY TV spot ft. Monona Yin
  • Video: Life, Death, and Compassion: A Conversation about Medical Aid in Dying in New York co-hosted by Union Theological Seminary, Compassion & Choices and SAGE (Recorded April 29, 2021)
  • Compassion & Choices NY TV spot ft. storyteller Scott Barraco
  • Video: Compassion & Choices New York Virtual Rally: #StopTheSuffering (Recorded April 15, 2021)
  • Video: Compassion & Choices New York: Remembering and Honoring Love (Recorded Feb. 16, 2021)
  • Video: Compassion & Choices NY TV spot ft. Jennifer Milich and Dr. Jeff Gardere
  • Video: Compassion & Choices NY 2021 Virtual Kickoff Event (Recorded Jan. 25, 2021)
  • Video: Education and Empowerment: Reducing End-of-Life Disparities – Presented by New York Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman and Compassion & Choices. Featuring Asmb. Hyndman, Dr. Jeff Gardere, Ottamissah “Missy” Moore, RN, and Corinne Carey. Recorded Thursday, January 21, 2021.
  • Video: New York Assemblymember Karines Reyes and terminally ill Buffalo resident Jennifer Milich
  • Empire ReportCorinne Carey: We’re All Looking for the Light at the End of the Tunnel
  • 2020 Webinar Series for NY Lawmakers — Part 2: Understanding Options and Resources: New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act, with Dan Diaz and Corinne Carey
  • 2020 Webinar Series for NY Lawmakers — Part 1: Advance Care Planning During COVID-19, with Dr. Jeff Gardere