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Syracuse Post-Standard: Physician-assisted suicide takes step forward in NY

By Jim Mulder, May 24

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Efforts to legalize physician-assisted suicide in New York took a step forward Monday when the Assembly Health Committee for the first time approved a bill that would let dying patients get medication to end their lives.

The committee approved the legislation by a 14-11 vote, setting the stage for a possible vote by the Assembly and Senate next year.

Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, chair of the Assembly health committee, said several assisted suicide bills have been introduced over the past 25 years, but this was the first one to come before the committee. He said he was “pleasantly surprised” the committee approved it.

“More than ever people are focused on the concept that we each ought to be in control of our bodies and our lives,” Gottfried said. “I think that basic proposition combined with real compassion for people who are suffering made the difference.”

PRESS RELEASE – Aid-in-Dying Bill Approved by Assembly Health Committee

Contact:                                                For Immediate Release
Mischa Sogut, (518) 455-4941                5/23/16

Statement by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried

  “Today, the New York State Assembly Health Committee for the first time approved aid-in-dying legislation. A. 10059 (Paulin)/S. 7579 (Savino) would authorize terminally ill adult patients who have mental capacity to make health care decisions to request medication for self-administration for the purpose of ending his or her own life.

“This bill is about patient autonomy and dignity.  Thanks to the work of advocates, health care practitioners, and my colleagues Assembly Members Amy Paulin and Linda Rosenthal and Senator Diane Savino, we have a bill that meets all the moral and legal standards we look to in reviewing legislation in the Health Committee. I am a co-sponsor of the bill.

“For well over a century, New York law has recognized that an adult patient who has capacity to make health care decisions has the right to refuse medical treatment. So for over a century, a patient who wants to cease life-sustaining treatment and receive pain management and palliative care – or no care – has had that right.

“Every New Yorker should have the fundamental right to choose or reject life-sustaining treatment, or medication that will enable them to end his or her pain and suffering.

“We must assure patients that they will have control over their end-of-life decisions, including access to appropriate pain management and palliative care. This critical patient autonomy should extend to the right to choose medically-assisted aid-in-dying.”


Video: Aid-in-Dying legislation

I recently joined Assembly Member Amy Paulin and advocates for a press conference on aid-in-dying legislation.  A5261 would enable mentally competent terminally ill patients to choose to self-administer medicine to bring about a peaceful death.

Video of my remarks can be found here.

Albany Times-Union: Bill lets terminal patients get aid in dying

By Casey Seiler, 2/9

Supporters of legislation that would set up the process through which physicians could provide terminal patients with a fatal dose of medication don’t want it referred to as an “assisted suicide” bill. “Aid in dying” is more accurate, they argue.

The bill, carried in the Assembly by Democrat Amy Paulin and in the Senate by Republican John Bonacic, includes what supporters say are sufficient safeguards to protect against abuse or coercion of the ailing patient, including:

Capitol Pressroom with Susan Arbetter (Audio)

January 13, 2016

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hosts his 2016 State of the State Address, which will also include the annual budget presentation.

Christine Quinn, the President and CEO of Women in Need, will weigh in on the Governor’s plan to address issues of homelessness in the state.

We will hear which healthcare issues are at the top of the Assembly’s list this session from Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D – Manhattan).

Mark Dunlea, Chair of the Green Education and Legal Fund, previews the State of the Climate, a rally at the Capitol for clean energy and a sustainable future.

Bruce Gyory of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips looks at key issues the Governor is likely to propose.