The New York State Bar Association Supports Passage of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Bill
The New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates, its governing body, voted today to support passage of a bill that would allow terminally ill people in New York to take medication that would end their lives.
The Medical Aid in Dying bill (A995a/S2445) includes safeguards such as mandatory evaluations of a person’s decision-making capacity, palliative and end of life care counseling and protections against coercion.
The bill has 85 co-sponsors. The bar association’s Task Force on Medical Aid in Dying made the recommendation in a report to the governing body.
“The Task Force on Medical Aid in Dying has worked tirelessly on this issue and produced recommendations that safeguard our most vulnerable populations,” said New York State Bar Association President Richard Lewis. “Support for medical aid in dying offers both dignity and compassion for those grappling with what can be a very difficult time in their lives.”
The task force reviewed the legal, ethical, public health and policy considerations surrounding the issue. It evaluated the impact on families, health care providers, nursing homes and correctional facilities.
“Our committee took a thoughtful approach to this issue and heard from many groups and voices who both support and oppose aid in dying as part of our work,” said Mary Beth Quaranta Morrissey, chair of the task force and chair-elect of the New York State Bar Association’s Health Law Section. “We held hours of hearings ensuring that everyone who is passionate on this issue would be heard.”
The New York bill is modeled after legislation in Oregon, nine other states and the District of Columbia.