Fall 2016 is here and our New York campaign to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act continues. As you may know, the bill would allow a terminally ill, mentally competent adult to request a lethal dose of medication that can be self-administered if and when their suffering becomes unbearable. It has numerous provisions that fully protect patients’ rights, and it ensures that such decisions are made voluntarily and in full consultation with and support of medical professionals. We reached a major milestone this past June with the bill’s approval by the New York State Assembly Health Committee.
Advocates from across the state are now actively looking to cultivate support among healthcare professionals in New York in preparation for our lawmakers’ return in January 2017. This past June the New York State Academy of Family Physicians voted to adopt a neutral position on aid-in-dying legislation. NYSAFP modeled its position after the California Medical Association, whose neutrality position cleared the way for the California legislature to pass its End of Life Option Act.
This is a good beginning, but the campaign now needs to secure the support of other major statewide medical groups as a way to press for further action by the New York State lawmakers in the coming legislative session.
That’s where you can have a significant role. As we outlined in our previous post, Info on the “Ask Your Doctor” Campaign, when you next visit your healthcare providers you can ask about their position on medical aid in dying and suggest that they add their name to the growing list of medical professionals who support medical aid in dying. For guidance in that effort, please download and print the Compassion & Choices “Ask Your Doctor” brochure pdf: Ask-Your-Doctor-pamphlet-FINAL. You can also find this brochure and more info at https://www.compassionandchoices.org/ask-your-doctor/.
“Ask Your Candidate”
Election Day on November 8 will bring people out to the polls to cast their vote for President and representatives in every Senate and Assembly district throughout the state. Compassion & Choices has launched an “Ask the Candidate” campaign to engage with candidates for state Senate on the issue of medical aid in dying. There are competitive races across the state. Supporters of medical aid in dying can access a toolkit for engaging with the candidates on this issue by emailing NY@compassionandchoices.org.