In collaboration with Compassion & Choices, on June 11 we sent the following open letter (as an advertisement in Empire Report New York, the political report for state politicians) to New York state legislators. The letter is part of our joint advocacy effort in the New York Coalition for Medical Aid in Dying.
Hon. John Flanagan, Majority Leader, New York State Senate
Hon. Andrea Stewart Cousins, Minority Leader, New York State Senate
Hon. Carl Heastie, Speaker, New York State Assembly
Hon. Brian Kolb, Minority Leader, New York State Assembly
We’ve spent the last three years walking the halls, in your offices, answering lawmakers’ questions.
We’ve also been talking to your constituents.
We’ve been to fairs and festivals, town libraries, public forums, debates, League of Women Voters forums, and movie premieres building support for expanding end-of-life options by authorizing medical aid in dying.
We know you can appreciate a good campaign.
Hundreds of hours on Amtrak and in the car crossing the state has resulted in thousands of New Yorkers who’ve learned about the issue, and are on our side.
That’s thousands of emails, addresses, and phone numbers. We know you can do the math. It’s not only those people, but it’s their spouses, their kids, and their families who support medical aid in dying too.
That’s a lot of voters.
Thousands of the men and women who vote for you and the members of your conference have made it clear they want you to do the right thing by passing the Medical Aid in Dying Act.
In fact, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that New Yorkers support medical aid in dying by a 63-29 percent margin. And just to be clear, medical aid in dying is supported by Democrats, Republicans, and independents; upstaters and downstaters; young and old; men and women; Protestants and Catholics; and, whites and New Yorkers of color.
We understand the politics of New York, the close margins, and how things become complicated in an election year.
We know that sometimes things that should happen in Albany don’t because of politics, but we need you to understand a few things:
In 2019, things will be different–regardless of the outcome of this year’s elections.
There will be no running out the clock on terminally ill New Yorkers again.
Your constituents won’t allow it.
We won’t allow it.
Decency won’t permit it.
In the coming months, you’ll see us at county fairs, debates, and town hall meetings. We’ll be knocking on the doors of your district offices. And you’ll see us walking the halls of the Capitol when you return in 2019.
We are not going away until you do the right thing:
Make New York the next state to authorize medical aid in dying.
Compassion & Choices and Death with Dignity National Center
Featured image by Pete Dzintars.