After five years of debate on New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act, terminally ill New Yorkers can’t wait any longer for state lawmakers to pass this bill. 

Miguel Carrasquillo (1980-2016), a chef from Puerto Rico, died at age 35 from an aggressive form of brain cancer on June 5, 2016.

“Going to the hospital back and forward like I do… Every day we have to deal with different symptoms: headaches, back pains, electric shock all over your body, convulsions, seizures… I want to die with a medication.”

“I tell God that I need to go, right now… I want the option to choose how I want to die.”  

Jay Kallio (1955-2016), a 9/11 first responder and hospice volunteer, died in pain from lung cancer.

“…If they [lawmakers] could save me from a death by torture and just give me death by peace and love and contentment, that would be such an incredible blessing in my life … even if I had the peace of knowing that other patients wouldn’t have to go through this…”

“And now the best of all possible decisions is to let us go with peace and in our own time, and without trauma to ourselves, and our spirit, and our families.”

New York University professor Youssef Cohen (1947-2016) was forced to choose between dying a painful death or leaving the city he loved.

“The way things are shaping up, it would be a very painful difficult death. I would give up everything I love to have a decent death because for myself and for all the people that love me… ”

“I think of it as having no choice, you’re going to die anyhow, and so it’s choosing how you want to die and this seems to be a much more humane way of dying.” 

Pioneering LGBTQ filmmaker Barbara Hammer (1939-2019) was a terminally-ill advocate in New York who worked to authorize medical aid in dying.            

“…I get hospice now, but every day I suffer … but it can’t completely alleviate your pain … I don’t want to keep suffering every night. I’ve gone as far as I can go… I just ask for the right to die. Please allow me the right to die.”

An attorney, Bernadette Hoppe (1965-2019) urged legislators to authorize medical aid in dying while facing terminal cancer.

“Death is going to be the inevitable end of this. You know we plan for births, even though it’s going to happen when it’s going to happen. So why can’t we do that for this last piece of our lives?

“This is doing what I can with a horrible situation and just being able to have some peace… but knowing that I have another potential option.”