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New York

Current Status

The New York Medical Aid in Dying Act is under consideration in Assembly and Senate committees, co-sponsored by 40 Assemblymembers and 13 Senators. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the New York State Legislature suspended its 2020 session and the bill did not advance.

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Resources

Our Partners

We’re participating in an advocacy coalition called the New York Alliance for Medical Aid in Dying, which also includes Death with Dignity-Albany, End of Life Choices New York (formerly Compassion & Choices of New York), and Compassion & Choices. Learn more here.

A 2694

  • Introduced on January 28, 2019
  • Title: Medical Aid in Dying Act
  • Full text of A 2694
  • Legislative history of A 2694
  • Referred to the Assembly Health Committee; re-referred again in 2020 with 10 additional co-sponsors
  • Primary sponsor: New York State Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale)
    • 36 co-sponsors: Assemblymembers Abinanti, Arroyo, Blake, Carroll, Cruz, Darling, Dinowitz, D’Urso, Epstein, Fall, Fernandez, Frontus, Galef, Gottfried, Griffin, Hevesi, Jaffee, Jones, Lavine, Lupardo, M. Miller, M.G. Miller, Mosley, Ortiz, Quart, Reyes, Rivera, Rodriguez, Rosenthal, Sayegh, Seawright, Simotas, Steck, Thiele, Vanel, and Woerner
    • 3 multi-sponsors: Assemblymembers Braunstein, Crouch, and Lifton

S 3947

  • Introduced on February 21, 2019
  • Title: Medical Aid in Dying Act
  • Full text of S 3947
  • Legislative history of S 3947
  • Referred to the Senate Health Committee; re-referred again in 2020 with 5 additional co-sponsors
  • Primary sponsor: New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (D-23)
    • Co-sponsors: Senators Alessandra Biaggi, John E. Brooks, Pete Harckham, Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Robert Jackson, Liz Krueger, Jen Metzger, Velmanette Montgomery, Jessica Ramos, Gustavo Rivera, Julia Salazar, and Luis R. Sepúlveda

Endorsements

The following organizations have endorsed the medical aid-in-dying legislation:

Healthcare
  • New York State Academy of Family Physicians: “Family Physicians are unique in that we are blessed to care for patients and their families throughout the lifespan, quite literally from cradle to grave. Supporting the authorization of medical aid in dying is commensurate with the Family Physician’s desire to empower our patients not only in their pursuit of wellness, their management of chronic disease, but also the alleviation of suffering when faced with a terminal illness.”
  • New York State Public Health Association
  • New York Statewide Senior Action Council
Other Fields

The Arc New York asserts that any rights included in any laws legalizing medical aid in dying should be guaranteed to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

—The Arc New York

The Medical Society of the State of New York opposes the bill.

Polling

  • An April 2018 Quinnipiac University poll shows 63 percent of New York residents support medical aid in dying.
  • A January 2019 poll shows 56 percent of New York physicians support medical aid in dying, while 67 percent support the aid in dying legislation under consideration.

Related Bills in the Current Session

  • A 30 – “relates to requiring the commissioner of health to conduct a study relating to medical aid in dying”
  • S 647 – “relates to prohibiting insurance coverage for physician assisted suicide”

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History

2018

New York State Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-Scarsdale), together with 23 co-sponsors and 4 multi-sponsors, have sponsored A 2383, Medical Aid in Dying Act, introduced on January 23, 2017. The bill was referred to the Health Committee, and re-referred on January 3, 2018.

If I am terminally ill, I should be able to choose to end my life calmly, peacefully and in a dignified way, at a time and in a setting I choose where I am surrounded by those I love. That is what my bill is about.

—New York State Assemblymember Amy Paulin

New York State Senator Diane Savino (D-N Staten Island/S Brooklyn) together with co-sponsors, Senators Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan), Liz Krueger (D-28), and Marisol Alcantara (D-31), are behind the identical companion bill, S 3151.

Neither bill came up for a vote in the 2017 session.

In 2018, hearings on the two bills took place on April 23 (in Albany) and May 3 (in New York City).

Other Bills

New York State Senator John Bonacic (R) introduced a similar bill, S2045, on January 11, 2017; the bill died shortly after. Another similar bill, A 3598, End of Life Options Act, was sponsored by Assemblymembers Linda Rosenthal with 5 co-sponsors and 1 multi-sponsor; it was re-referred to the Health Committee on January 1, 2018.

A bill prohibiting insurance companies from covering “physician assisted suicide,” including medical aid in dying drugs, S3989, was also introduced in the State Senate the 2017 session and referred to the Insurance Committee.

On May 10, 2016, A 10059, Medical Aid in Dying Act, was introduced in the New York state legislature (the companion bill in the Senate is SB 7579). On May 23, 2016, the bill passed in the Assembly Health Committee 14 to 11.

The bill was a combination of two pairs of companion bills that had been pending in the New York legislature since January 2015:

Pre-2016

New York legislature had considered physician-assisted dying bills a number of times since Oregon’s law passed:

  • 1995 (S 1683, S 5024-A, A 6333)
  • 1999 (SB 4834)
  • 2001 (SB 677)
  • 2012 (AB 9360).

In May 2016, a state appellate court upheld a lower-court ruling that state residents have a right to refuse medical treatment but physicians do not have the right to help them die.

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