The New York State legislature is currently considering passage of the Medical Aid in Dying Act (Assembly Bill 4321-A) which is an extremely important piece of legislation which will benefit many New Yorkers and their families, but they are unaware of it. This legislation was initially introduced by Assembly member Amy Pauling, and currently has multiple sponsors. The proposed law is modeled on the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. First introduced for consideration in 1995, the right to die with dignity law has endured because it remains necessary and well supported.
- An April 2018 Quinnipiac University poll demonstrates that 63 % of New York residents support medical aid in dying.
- A January 2019 poll demonstrates 56 % of New York physicians support medical aid in dying, while 67 % support the aid in dying legislation under consideration.
Bill 4321-A has wide support because it enables individuals with terminal illness to die in a peaceful, humane manner. As noted in an April 5, 2021 NY Times article, it is the loss of autonomy, dignity, quality of life and inability to engage in a meaningful way in life which has prompted the need for this legislation, already enacted in 10 other states throughout the country. In essence, the law would permit qualified, terminally ill adult residents to legally obtain a prescription from their physician for medications to end their life peacefully, in a dignified way, at the place and time of their choosing.
Everyone should have this fundamental right.
As noted by founding law firm partner Colleen M. Meenan: “I wish my mother would have had this benefit at the end of her life. I believe it would have provided her with a peaceful and dignified alternate way of transitioning, rather than being left with no choice but to endure a protracted death process. No one should have to suffer the indignity of a lingering death due to terminal illness. It does not mean that life is any less significant or any less loved. It is just a fundamentally more compassionate approach to dying which is inevitable.”