ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — For eight years advocates in New York have been pushing for the Medical Aid in Dying Act., which would allow doctors to prescribe terminally ill patients with medicine that helps them die peacefully. Supporters of the bill lined the halls of the Capitol before sharing their personal testimonies.
“Our daughter lived in Manhattan. She was a ballerina, and yoga instructor, as well as an artist, and she actually did a beautiful rooftop painting with a partner dancing on top of the canvas in Manhattan just days after she was diagnosed with a very severe tongue cancer,” said Amy and Dan Eilert who traveled from Dallas, Texas to push for the legislation. The Eilerts say it certainly would have helped their daughter, Ayla pass on without so much suffering. “She went through all of the horrendous treatments, where chemoradiation just burned her severely,” said Alya’s father, Dan. In just six months their daughter went from being completely healthy to bed ridden with metastasized cancer. Ayla died at 24 years-old and was laid to rest just over a year ago.
Corrine Carey, Senior Campaign Director for Compassion & Choices in New York and New Jersey explained in part, why the bill hasn’t passed, “This bill isn’t a priority for anybody… until it is, until you or a loved one are facing down a terminal illness and all that’s left is suffering before death.” Right now Medical Aid in Dying is legal in 10 other states, including New Jersey. In order to be eligible for the drug a person has to be 18 years or older, be terminally ill with six months or less to live, mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions and able to self-administer the medication.
In a statement the Catholic Diocese said this legislation would pressure poor and underinsured people to end their lives, they went on to say, “A better, more compassionate solution is to invest in palliative care, which is woefully underutilized in New York, and which mitigates people’s desire for doctor-assisted suicide.” According to the organization Compassion and Choices, 56% of New Yorkers support the legislation. It’s never passed either house. We’ll keep you updated on where it stands in the Legislature this year.