What can you do? Here’s a top priority

One of Compassion & Choices’ top priorities in New York is to let our legislators know that there are voters in their districts to whom this issue really matters. If we stay quiet, it’s easier for them to think that nobody really cares and ignore the legislation that’s being worked on and presented by the bill’s sponsors.

So if you have a moment, please follow these links to find out who your state senator or assemblyperson is and drop her or him a line about your support for medical aid in dying.

Find my State Senator
https://www.nysenate.gov/find-my-senator

Find my State Assembly Member
http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/

Looking for a short cut? This letter, composed by Compassion & Choices is already pre-written for you.

Subject line: Please support medical aid in dying

I am writing to ask you to sponsor legislation that makes the medical practice of aid in dying accessible for the people of our state. It is good law and responsible policy with a documented record of safety.

I am one of the 100 million Americans who followed Brittany Maynard, just 29 years old, and her courageous journey to death with dignity in Oregon. Now I am answering her call to action to join a nationwide movement that will make death with dignity an accessible healthcare choice for terminally ill Americans.  She said it was unethical that most of us don’t have that option, and I agree.

Like 70 percent of people in this country, I believe that our rights and freedoms are ours to exercise until we take our last breath, and having a terminal illness doesn’t change that. I am calling on you as my elected representative to guarantee those rights for me.

You have the opportunity and the responsibility to give this freedom to your constituents. The record shows that in states where it is an authorized medical practice, aid in dying works as intended, and is not subject to abuse. It also provides great peace of mind to terminally ill adults as they approach life’s end.

Brittany Maynard demonstrated that people who want death with dignity would rather live and are not suicidal. She was busy living fully until the very end. Brittany chose to access Oregon’s 17-year old death-with-dignity law and her extended family supported her decision to avoid the cruel and drawn out dying process her cancer would bring.

Aid in dying is not a choice of death over life. It is an option for those who are dying that spares them unbearable suffering and offers a controlled and peaceful ending. All dying people deserve that option, and the tremendous peace of mind that comes with it.

Thanks for your time.

(Electronic version of this letter at http://www.compassionandchoices.org/take-action/urge-your-legislators-support-medical-aid-in-dying/

 

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Thurs, January 4: Statewide Campaign Update conference call

The New York State campaign leaders Corinne Carey and Amanda Cavanaugh are planning a Statewide Campaign Update conference call for supporters on Thursday, January 4 from 7 – 8 pm where they’ll be joined by one of our bill sponsors. Information about how to call in and hear the updates will be emailed to you and/or posted here closer to Jan. 4.

The facts about Medical Aid in Dying at your fingertips (downloadable fact sheets)

When discussing your support for Medical Aid in Dying in New York, do you sometimes wish you had more facts? These 1-page sheets give you a start on the talking points you need while explaining to others why you are for this important law.

You can also find lots more info on the national Compassion & Choices website.

Click on the images below to launch larger, printable pdf documents.

The Facts About Medical Aid in Dying

 

Physicians Support Medical Aid in Dying Almost 2-to-1

 

Medical Aid in Dying is NOT Suicide, Assisted Suicide or Euthanasia

 

 

Suicide Prevention Association Urges an End to the Term “Physician-Assisted Suicide” to Describe Medical Aid in Dying

Compassion & Choices praised a suicide-prevention medical research association for issuing a statement Thursday concluding medical aid in dying “is distinct from the behavior that has been traditionally and ordinarily described as ‘suicide.’”

“In suicide, a life that could have continued indefinitely is cut short,” said Colleen Creighton, executive director of The American Association of Suicidology, AAS, whose membership includes mental health and public health professionals. “PAD [physician aid in dying] is not a matter of life or death; it is a matter of a foreseeable death occurring a little sooner but in an easier way, in accord with the patient’s wishes and values, vs. death later in a potentially more painful and protracted manner. In PAD, the person with a terminal illness does not necessarily want to die; he or she typically wants desperately to live but cannot do so; the disease will take its course.”

Medical aid in dying is an option for mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to peacefully end their suffering if it becomes unbearable in the District of Columbia and six states: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. These jurisdictions have a combined 40-year track record with no evidence of misuse of this practice. In addition, the specific statutes in the District of ColumbiaCaliforniaColorado , OregonVermont, and Washington stipulate that: “Actions taken in accordance with [the Act] shall not, for any purpose, constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide…”

“The American Association of Suicidology is dedicated to preventing suicide, but this has no bearing on the reflective, anticipated death a physician may legally help a dying patient facilitate, whether called…physician-assisted dying, or medical aid in dying,” concluded Creighton. “In fact, we believe that the term ‘physician-assisted suicide’ constitutes a critical reason why these distinct death categories are so often conflated, and should be deleted from use.”

The AAS statement is timely because last month the U.S. House of Representatives passed an appropriations bill (HR 3354) with an amendment that would repeal D.C.’s medical aid-in-dying law. Twelve days later, some House members introduced a concurrent resolution (H.Con.Res.80) condemning medical aid in dying as ‘assisted suicide.’

“The AAS announcement should deter members of Congress from trying to deprive terminally ill Americans of the compassionate option of medical aid in dying when no other medical option can provide relief from intolerable suffering,” said Compassion & Choices President Barbara Coombs Lee, an ER and ICU nurse for 25 years and coauthor of the nation’s first medical aid-in-dying law in Oregon in 1994. “Numerous other health and medical groups concur with the AAS’s conclusion. Both federal and state lawmakers should defer to their expertise on this medical issue.”

In fact, the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative MedicineThe American College of Legal MedicineAmerican Medical Women’s AssociationAmerican Medical Student Association, and American Public Health Association have adopted similar policies opposing the use of the terms ‘suicide’ and ‘assisted suicide’ to describe the medical practice of aid in dying.

“Medical aid-in-dying laws enable the relatively few people who choose this option to peacefully die in their sleep,” said Kim Callinan, chief program officer for Compassion & Choices. “These laws also spur terminally ill people to discuss with their loved ones and doctors and better use all their end of life options, including hospice and palliative care.”

Numerous polls show strong support for medical aid in dying among both U.S. physicians and Americans across the ethnic, political and religious spectrum.


This information can also be read on the national Compassion & Choices website at https://www. compassionandchoices.org/ suicide-prevention- association-concludes-medical- aid-in-dying-is-not-suicide/


For one-page fact sheets about the distinctions between medical aid in dying and suicide, and other talking points, click below:

 

 

 

 

November 18: Mount Kisco film screening and discussion of end-of-life options

Do you have friends and family who have questions about the current end-of-life options in New York?

Please spread the word that Compassion & Choices is coming to the Mount Kisco Public Library to host a screening of the award-winning film “How To Die In Oregon,” followed by a discussion of New York’s proposed Medical Aid In Dying Act. 

About the film: In 1994, Oregon became the first state to legalize physician-assisted suicide. As a result, any individual whom two physicians diagnose as having less than six months to live can lawfully request a fatal dose of barbiturate to end his or her life. Since 1994, more than 500 terminally ill Oregonians have taken their mortality into their own hands at the end of their lives. In “How to Die in Oregon,” filmmaker Peter Richardson gently enters the lives of the terminally ill as they consider whether – and when – to end their lives by lethal overdose. Richardson examines both sides of this complex, emotionally charged issue. What emerges is a life-affirming, staggeringly powerful portrait of what it means to die with dignity.

When:
– Saturday, November 18, 2017
– Film begins at 12:30 pm
– Q&A follows immediately after at 2:15 pm

Where:
– Mount Kisco Public Library, 2nd Floor Community Room (elevator accessible)
– 100 East Main Street, Mount Kisco, NY 10549; (914) 666-8041

The event is free and open to the public
RSVPs requested but not required
RSVP/Questions: NY@CompassionAndChoices.org


See this page on our site for more videos and reading:

https://lhvactionteamcompassionchoices.wordpress.com/resources-on-life-passages/


 

Easy way to show Gov. Cuomo you are a supporter of the Medical Aid in Dying Act

“I’m living with a terminal illness and when my time comes, I’d like to be able to die on my own terms without suffering.” (Georgia, Syracuse) If you agree with Georgia, please sign our petition and let Governor Cuomo know: https://www.compassionandchoices.org/governors-day

Compassion and Choices has set a goal of gathering 6,000 signatures during the NY State Fair, and as the Fair comes to an end, we are very close to reaching our goal. If we can meet this target, we can show the governor and top leaders in the state legislature that there is widespread support for medical aid in dying across the state.

Have you signed a petition before? Please sign again! This petition will go to Governor Cuomo and really make an impact. There are only a few days of the fair left and we want to be sure that we meet our goal.

Sign our petition to tell Gov. Cuomo that you support the Medical Aid in Dying Act. 

See the below 8/24/17 letter with details from NY Campaign Director Corinne Carey, as well as a link to her recent live interview at the State Fair.

Friend,

I’m writing to you from the New York State Fair in Syracuse! It’s the second day of the fair, and we’ve already collected hundreds of signatures to send to Governor Andrew Cuomo to let him know how strongly New Yorkers feel about becoming the next state to authorize medical aid in dying.

Today is Governor’s Day, and the governor himself toured the State Fair yesterday. We’ve set a target of 6,000 petition signatures to deliver to the governor by the end of the fair. And even if you aren’t able to make it out to Syracuse, you can help our campaign by signing the petition.

Sign our Governor’s Day petition to show Gov. Cuomo that New Yorkers want the option of medical aid in dying. 

Our opponents recently delivered thousands of petitions against medical aid in dying to the governor’s office, and while we know support outweighs opposition in our state, we have to demonstrate that support so the governor and other elected officials can see it.

If we can come together and show our support to the governor and top legislative leaders, we can convince them to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act. Take action today to help us win.

Sign the petition to show the Governor that the Medical Aid in Dying Act has strong support across the state:

https://www.compassionandchoices.org/governors-day

Thanks for all you do,

Corinne Carey
NY Campaign Director

» Link to Corinne’s TV interview at the State Fair

An unforeseen benefit to California’s physician-assisted death law

The L.A. Times featured this article about the “unforeseen benefit” of California’s aid-in-dying law. Compassion & Choices has always said that when a state adopts a law that authorizes medical aid in dying, end-of-life care gets better for everybody. Now, people in California know it first hand. Please share in your circles.
LINK: http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-end-of-life-care-20170821-htmlstory.html

There’s an unforeseen benefit to California’s new physician-assisted death law

California’s physician-assisted death law has an unforeseen benefit. (Aug. 21, 2017)
By Soumya Karlamangla

Some doctors in California felt uncomfortable last year when a new law began allowing terminally ill patients to request lethal medicines, saying their careers had been dedicated to saving lives, not ending them.

Many healthcare systems designed protocols for screening people who say they’re interested in physician-assisted death, including some that were meant to dissuade patients from taking up the option.

But physicians across the state say the conversations that health workers are having with patients are leading to patients’ fears and needs around dying being addressed better than ever before. They say the law has improved medical care for sick patients, even those who don’t take advantage of it.

“One doctor said we should be able to order the End of Life Option Act without the drugs,” said Dr. Neil Wenger, director of the UCLA Health Ethics Center. “It really has created a new standard for how we ought to be helping people at the end of life.”

California last year became the fifth state to allow people with terminal illnesses to request pills from their doctors to end their lives. In the first six months the law was in effect, 111 terminally ill patients ended their lives that way, state officials said.

The law requires that two doctors agree that the patient has an incurable illness with no more than six months to live and has the mental capacity to make such a decision. Many health systems set up additional protocols for patients who express interest in the law.

At UCLA, they’re required to talk to psychologists or social workers, which often reveals concerns that weren’t being addressed, said Anne Coscarelli, a clinical psychologist who heads the team of health workers that meets with these patients.

The health workers ask patients a variety of questions: what scares them, how they’re feeling, what they’re worried about, what defines their quality of life.

Sometimes doctors end up adjusting patients’ medicines or treatments because patients hadn’t before expressed how much pain they were in. Some patients decide to go on hospice earlier than they would have otherwise.

“Not everyone who’s talking about this is saying, ‘I want this medication.’ They’re saying, ‘I’m suffering’ or ‘I’m worried about suffering’ and that becomes the conversation starter … and it might not come up in any other way,” Coscarelli said.

First 6 months of aid-in-dying in California

-191 people prescribed lethal medications
-111 died from taking lethal medications
-Of the 111, 87% were at least 60 years old
-96% had health insurance
-84% were receiving hospice or palliative care
-59% had cancer
Sources: California Department of Public Health

Approximately 100 patients at UCLA began the process to receive a prescription in the first 12 months the law was in effect, but only about a quarter ended up getting prescriptions, Wenger said.

Coscarelli said psychologists and social workers have also helped patients come to terms with dying. For some, it can be as simple as getting their legal or financial affairs in order.

Others have confronted the question of what legacy they will leave behind. Some record video messages for their loved ones. One woman put together a folder for each of her children and grandchildren filled with stories about them and stories about her, Coscarelli said.

“That becomes something that we can introduce people to in these conversations, whereas they might not have ever thought about it,” she said.

Doctors have sometimes struggled to talk about dying with patients. According to a 2015 Kaiser Family Foundation survey, 89% people believe doctors should discuss end-of-life care with patients, but only 17% had had such a conversation with their health care provider.

But now, physicians say patients are curious about the law and asking about it, which provides them an opportunity to have these frank discussions.

A study from Oregon, which legalized aid-in-dying 20 years ago, found that though only 1 of 640 terminally ill patients took lethal medications, 1 of 50 talked to their physician about it and and 1 in 6 talked to their families about it.

“There’s a lot of need for talk, and talk is something that’s bigger and broader than the actual aid-in-dying itself,” Coscarelli said.

Dr. Bob Uslander, who specializes in palliative and hospice care, said that at a recent speaking event in San Diego, he fielded dozens of questions about not just physician-assisted death but also other end-of-life care options.

He said he thinks the unprecedented interest spurred by the law will lead to more thoughtful planning around death, such as the creation of more advanced care directives.

“We’ll get more people to actually make their wishes known and document their wishes,” Uslander said.

The law still faces heavy opposition from some corners. Many doctors still don’t want to write the prescriptions. A group of doctors has also filed a lawsuit saying that the law essentially decriminalizes assisted suicide and strips terminally ill patients of their protections under state law. A judge ruled earlier this summer that the case would be allowed to go to trial.

Doctors aren’t required to participate in the law and health systems can opt out. At Catholic and church-affiliated hospitals, which make up 13% of all acute care hospitals in the state, doctors are not allowed to prescribe such medications.

But even at those institutions, requests for the medicines have sometimes helped identify issues that health workers can assist with, said Lori Dangberg, vice president of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care. Patients fear they’ll be a burden on their families, or are scared of what’s to come, she said.

The Catholic and church-affiliated hospitals have also begun a collaboration with local dioceses to hold workshops on end-of-life matters, she said. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles now offers a workshop on end-of-life care including ethics, palliative and hospice care as well as pastoral care at the end of life.

“I think what this new law has done, it’s really a reminder we need to do a much better job with caring for people through the end of life,” Dangberg said.

Dr. Stephen Lockhart, chief medical officer for Sutter Health, said that before the law went into effect, doctors received training in how to talk about aid in dying, but also in other end-of-life options. They had their questions answered by medical ethicists.

He said that more patients are broaching the topic with their physicians than before. Even patients who have wills or advanced care directives had not always planned out their end-of-life wishes with their families.

“It takes a certain amount of courage to step into those conversations and … we have people now stepping into those conversations and they now have the support to move through them,” he said.

Essay by a California palliative doctor: “Should I Help My Patients Die?”

This op-ed ran on the front page of the August 6, 2017 New York Times Week in Review about a palliative doctor in California grappling with her feelings—and finding a solid protocol—for dealing with patients’ requests for aid in dying. The doctor’s description of what the California law covers and how it is rolling out may help answer a lot of questions for New York readers, while perhaps raising some others. As Lower Hudson Valley C&C co-leader Stacey Gibson says, “I think some very good points are raised in the essay, but whenever someone wants to over-complicate something that has been working so well for more than 20 years—like the law in Oregon—with more potential regulation like is suggested in her op-ed, I get very nervous.”

What do you think?

Speaking out against the effort in Congress to repeal D.C.’s Death with Dignity law

On August 6, The Buffalo News featured an important essay by Dr. Robert Milch, co-founder and former medical director of the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, about the effort in Congress to repeal DC’s Death with Dignity law. If successful, the move could jeopardize the rights of those in states that have authorized the practice, like Oregon, California, Vermont, and Colorado.

Stand against this effort. Write to your elected officials in Congress by clicking this link: 

https://www.compassionandchoices.org/federal-legislative-action-center/tell-congress-dont-repeal-d-c-s-death-with-dignity-act/


Another Voice: Deceit marks opposition to aid in dying law

By Robert Milch

In a jaw-dropping display of hypocrisy, ineptitude and deceit, the Republican-dominated House Appropriations Committee voted on July 13 to block implementation of the District of Columbia’s Death With Dignity law. The law would allow terminally ill patients with decision-making capacity to access physician aid in dying.

In a 2015 poll, 67 percent of residents of the district approved medical aid in dying. A bill modeled on Oregon’s law, after public input and debate, passed local health committee review in 2016, twice passed votes in the District Council, 11-2, and was signed into law by the mayor in December.

The federal Home Rule Law mandates congressional review within 30 days of any law passed by the district. Congress missed the deadline.

The law went into effect July 17, the seventh locale where aid in dying is legal.

But on July 13, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland, an anesthesiologist endorsed by the tea party, introduced an amendment to the federal spending bill that would invalidate implementing the law. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate. Both await further action.

In advocacy for his amendment, Harris demonstrated either willful ignorance or outright demagoguery in multiple false claims.

Among these, he labels medical aid in dying “suicide,” when the law pointedly states it doesn’t authorize or condone suicide per se, and the American Psychological Association notes “profound psychological differences” between the two acts.

He warns “tourists” will flock to Washington and abuse the law by “injecting” medication, when only district residents can avail themselves of services and the medication must be taken by mouth, unassisted. Without substantiation, he claims the district law is “worse” than other states’ even though it has the same foundation and mandates that have proven safety in practice elsewhere, over decades of application.

But most infuriating is the willingness of Harris and his colleagues, for their own ideological purposes, to abuse the appropriations process to foil the collective electoral will of the people and the individual patient’s autonomy.

By this action, returning authority to the states is shown to be a ruse, and the dire implications for subsequently structured Medicare and Medicaid funding are sobering. So much for the promises of less government in our lives.

A socially conservative philosophy alone does not justify how this amendment would ruthlessly achieve its end. It behooves those who object to this bullying governmental over-reach to inform their representatives of their position and demand they vote against this amendment.

We owe it to the citizens of the District of Columbia. We owe it to ourselves.

Robert Milch, M.D., of Williamsville, is co-founder and former medical director of the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care.

ARTICLE LINK: http://buffalonews.com/2017/08/03/another-voice-deceit-marks-opposition-aid-dying-law/


Write to your elected officials in Congress by clicking this link: 

https://www.compassionandchoices.org/federal-legislative-action-center/tell-congress-dont-repeal-d-c-s-death-with-dignity-act/

Physician’s group endorses medical aid-in-dying legislation

See the original article at http://legislativegazette.com/archives/6157.  We’ve pasted in the text below.


Last week, the New York State Academy of Family Physicians, which represents over 6,000 physicians and medical students throughout the state, voted in favor of supporting the New York State’s Medical Aid in Dying Act (S.3151/A.2383). The bill, which the NYSAFP previously held a neutral stance on, would allow for a terminally ill patient to request the use of medication for aid in dying.

The members of Compassion and Choices New York, a nonprofit organization committed to improving medical care and expanding choice at the end of life, are thrilled with the NYSAFP’s vote in support of the bill. The organization’s campaign director Corinne Carey applauded their decision last Monday.

“This exciting news demonstrates that the medical community is moving consistently and decisively to support medical aid in dying as a legitimate end-of-life option for all terminally ill, mentally capable New Yorkers, and an appropriate option for a small number of individuals and their families,” Carey said. “The six-thousand-member NYS Academy of Family Physicians brings its expertise, high standing among medical professionals and enlightened leadership to the effort to authorize medical aid in dying as an option for New York. We thank the Academy and welcome their efforts on behalf of New Yorkers who overwhelmingly support medical aid in dying.”

In more detail, the Medical Aid in Dying Act would serve to provide that a mentally competent, terminally ill patient may request medication to be self-administered for the purpose of hastening the patient’s death. This would be to avoid further pain and suffering, and to offer the patient a peaceful death on their own terms. Moreover, the bill also provides that the patient’s physician, when acting in good faith with the careful provisions of the law, would be protected from civil and criminal liability.

Much of the reason for this bill’s support was highlighted by the death of Brittany Maynard, a young California woman with terminal brain cancer. She was an advocate for the legalization of medical aid in dying, which was not legal in California until 2016. In order to end her own suffering on her own terms, Maynard moved to Oregon, where medical aid in dying is legal.

The argument for the passing of this bill in New York State focuses on the desire of terminally ill patients, like Maynard, to determine for themselves how and when they die. Before the NYSAFP’s vote, many polls conducted in New York showed the rest of the state’s support for this legislation. A 2015 poll found that 77 percent of all New Yorkers support aid-in-dying.

After the NYSAFP vote, their President Dr. Sarah Nosal discussed the Academy’s ultimate decision. “Family Physicians are unique in that we are blessed to care for patients and their families throughout the lifespan, quite literally from cradle to grave,” Nosal said. “Supporting the authorization of medical aid in dying is commensurate with the Family Physician’s desire to empower our patients not only in their pursuit of wellness, their management of chronic disease, but also the alleviation of suffering when faced with a terminal illness.”

The NYSAFP have also cited a handful of reasons to support medical aid in dying. Among them they state that their position of neutrality on the matter can have negative consequences, and can be viewed as patient abandonment. On top of that, they cite the effect in Oregon after the state’s implementation of its Death with Dignity law, which showed that end-of-life care was improved and rates of medical aid in dying showed no evidence of heightened risk for any vulnerable groups such as the disabled, elderly, poor, or uninsured.

Yet, not everyone in the state agrees with the implementation of assisted suicide options in New York. The New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide is an informal association of many diverse organizations, institutions, agencies, and individuals in the state committed to preventing the legalization of assisted suicide. They argue against several facets of medical aid in dying, some of which include the possibility of false terminal prognoses, the fact that a witness to a prescription request could be someone who would inherit from the patient, and the patient’s ultimate consent at the time the medication is administered might not be a sure thing.

The association also argues that assisted suicide poses a threat to those living with disabilities, as pressure can be placed on those in such vulnerable circumstances to use this option. “Nothing in Oregon or Washington style laws can protect from explicit or implicit family pressures to commit suicide or personal fears of ‘being a burden’,” the association states. “There is also no requirement that a doctor evaluate family pressures the patient may be under.” Moreover, the association stresses that barbituates, which are the most common substances used for medical aid in dying, do not assure a peaceful death as there have been associated issues with their effects that can cause distress to the patient.

The New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedom, a Christian-based organization dedicated to influencing legislation in New York, also take issue with the prospect of this bill. “Physician-assisted suicide represents a complete abdication of our moral responsibility to persons suffering from terminal illnesses,” their website states. “Rather than caring for such persons with the utmost sensitivity and compassion, the sponsors of this bill would have us simply expedite their demise.”

Yet, despite opposition, this vote by the NYSAFP sheds light on the growing number of United States physicians who now endorse the idea of medical aid in dying. With their support, Compassion and Choices NY plans to continue educating New Yorkers about end-of-life options in their attempt to get this bill passed.

Plans for 2018 — a rallying statement from Corinne Carey, New York Campaign Director

As the Compassion and Choices fiscal year ends, the NYS campaign director looks back and forward:

Will 2018 be the year that New York joins six other states and the District of Columbia in allowing New Yorkers the choice of medical aid in dying? On the merits, it absolutely should be.

We know that talking about death and dying is really hard, and that this year, a number of lawmakers faced difficult personal experiences that made it painful to have these discussions with us. But we also know that millions of New Yorkers confront and talk about end of life issues with family, friends, neighbors, and fellow parishioners every day. We know too that they are looking to Albany to provide an important option as they or loved ones face those challenges.

We made great progress this year. An increasing number of legislators are hearing from more of their constituents urging them to support the Medical Aid in Dying Act (S3151/A2383). Over the next six months, with the Legislature out of session, that activity will intensify locally, and there are now fewer than 500 days until all state offices and all 213 legislative seats are up for election.

So, if the Governor and Legislature do not enact the Medical Aid in Dying Act in 2018, they will be facing an electorate (see poll) that overwhelmingly supports medical aid in dying in New York, 81-19 percent.

Our campaign, powered by thousands of Compassion & Choices supporters and volunteers – accomplished much during the first half of 2017 on the path to passing a law to provide terminally ill, mentally competent New Yorkers who seek it, an important end-of-life option. Specifically:

  • We’ve nearly doubled the number of sponsors of the Medical Aid in Dying Act from 15 at the beginning of the year to 29 today;
  • We have met with more than three-quarters of legislators in person to understand their views on the issue, answer their questions about aid in dying, and talk to them about its impact in other states where it’s legal;
  • After three years of careful deliberation, the New York Civil Liberties Union position has evolved and NYCLU now supports the bill;
  • The New York State Public Health Association has voted to endorse the bill;
  • The bill is now also supported by the Statewide Senior Action Council;
  • A number of major professional associations representing healthcare professionals have engaged meaningfully with our campaign and are reexamining their positions; and,
  • The Medical Society of the State of New York voted to survey physicians this fall about their attitudes towards aid in dying.

There is still much work to do. We will continue to speak out publicly and be a resource for all New Yorkers who want to learn more about aid in dying. Along with thousands of New Yorkers, we will continue to meet and talk with legislators over the next six months while they are home in their districts.

We strongly believe that when the Legislature and Governor return to Albany for the 2018 legislative session, that they will not want to leave the Capitol to face voters without passing the Medical Aid in Dying Act.