ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State is one step closer to allowing terminally ill patients end their lives.
The New York State Assembly Health Committee passed the Medical Aid in Dying Act to allow assisted suicide. It narrowly passed with a vote of 14 to 11.
The legislation will now head to the Assembly floor for voting. If approved, it could potentially go to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s desk to become law.
The bill is modeled after Oregon’s Death With Dignity Act and similar laws in other states. Key components of the bill:
- It allows only qualified, terminally ill and mentally capable adults to receive life ending medication. Two physicians must confirm that the prognosis is terminal.
- Patients must be refereed to a mental health professional for evaluation, if deemed necessary by either physician.
- Requires two witnesses to attest that the request is voluntary.
- Protects the physician from civil or criminal liability, and from professional disciplinary action.
- Participation by doctors is fully voluntary.
- Allows for criminal law prosecution for coercing or forging a request.
- Ensures life insurance payments cannot be denied to the families of those who use the law.
- The legislation will state that any action taken in accordance with the law is not “suicide” or “assisted suicide.”