Democrats Push New Bill to Make Physician-Assisted Suicide Legal in New York
NY Dems reintroduce Medical Aid in Dying Act shortly after loosened abortion laws
Shortly after Democrats celebrated their victory at loosening abortion laws in New York last month, Democratic senators are now pushing a newly reintroduced bill that will make physician-assisted suicide legal in the state.
In late January, the world reeled in horror as NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, signed the Reproductive Health Act - that allows abortions up until birth - into law to cheers and applause.
Catholic leaders and pro-life campaigners are now attempting to stem the tide against legislation that would make physician-assisted suicide legal in New York.
“We stand on a precipice,” director of pro-life activities for New York’s Catholic Conference, Kathleen Gallagher, recently told New York conservatives, according to the Albany Times-Union.
“We’re looking in to a culture of death and our state is diving right down into that moral abyss.”
Dennis Poust, a spokesman for the state Catholic Conference headed by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, told the New York Daily News that physician-assisted suicide “is not a Catholic issue.”
“It’s a human life issue,” Poust said.
“There are many opponents (of assisted suicide), including those who advocate for people with disabilities and patients rights and the elderly.
"We’re proud to be in a coalition that stands up for those who may be exploited at the end of life.”
According to Western Journal, although blocking the legislation is a priority for Catholic leaders, the group Compassion and Choices is marshaling support for the legislation, seeking to capitalize on the swing represented by having all three parts of the Empire State’s government — governor, state Assembly, and state Senate — under Democratic control.
New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act was reintroduced last month.
“Medical aid in dying is overwhelmingly supported by New Yorkers. Now we know it’s overwhelmingly supported by New York doctors,” said Democratic Sen. Diane Savino, one of the bill’s major sponsors, in a Compassion and Choices news release.
"We will get this law passed in New York because it’s the right thing to do."
“I don’t know what my decision would be if I were in that situation.
"But I do know I would want the option for me, my loved ones and all New Yorkers who want that option,” she said.
As New York prepares to move forward on its legislation, a ruckus has broken out in neighboring New Jersey over a similar bill there, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
A Democratic maneuver that allowed legislation supporting assisted suicide to clear New Jersey’s Senate Committee on Health, Human Services and Seniors has been contested by the bill’s opponents.
Two Democrats who opposed the legislation were replaced by two Democrats who were in favor, The Free Beacon reported.
Dr. T. Brian Callister, the governor-elect of Nevada’s American College of Physicians and an opponent of physician-assisted suicide, said an ethics investigation is needed.
“It seemed very irregular – really a charade of a hearing with the outcome apparently a foregone conclusion,” Callister said told Fox News.
“The lack of transparency and the clear effort to silence opponents to physician-assisted suicide is an affront to our democracy at the most basic level.”
Marie Tasy, executive director of New Jersey Right to Life, said that there are still hurdles the bill must clear, told The Free Beacon that she is not giving up yet.
“There wasn’t any clamor for this legislation from New Jersey – it was a well-funded outside group,” she said.
“Medical technology has advanced to alleviate suffering up to the point of death. This is dangerous legislation.”
At the time of New York’s adoption of its liberal abortion law, the New York State Catholic Conference issued a statement linking abortion and assisted suicide.
“Our Governor and legislative leaders hail this new abortion law as progress. This is not progress,” the statement said.
"Progress will be achieved when our laws and our culture once again value and respect each unrepeatable gift of human life, from the first moment of creation to natural death.
“Would that not make us truly the most enlightened and progressive state in the nation?”