ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)—Some lawmakers and advocates gathered at the State Capitol on Tuesday calling for the Medical Aid in Dying Act to be reintroduced and passed this year.
Among them was Cassandra Johnston who was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer in November.
“I don’t wish a terrible death upon myself, should cancer win. I don’t plan on that happening. I plan on living a long and fulfilling life, but I want the choice. You know we say my body, my death, my choice and that’s really important,” said Johnston.
If passed, the bill would allow a mentally capable adult with a terminal illness and six months or less to live to have the option to request a prescription which would allow them to die.
“This bill has amazing safeguards,” said Assemblymember Anna Kelles. “Amazing safeguards so that the person themselves can choose not die in the most excruciating pain in their lives in a moment of an incredible experience of death.”
Kelles explained how this would happen.
“The individual has to administer the medication themselves. This is a bill where if after evaluation, a person is found to have any emotional or mental health issues, it can not be administered and they must see a councilor.”
She said a councilor must sign off on whether or not a person can proceed. Ten states and Washington, D.C. already allow this.
The New York State Catholic Conference is against it, stating in part, “New York must invest in palliative care and reject assisted suicide.”
The legislation was first introduced in New York State eight years ago, but lawmakers are optimistic about the bill passing this year.