Sept. 7 — The New York Court of Appeals released its decision today in the case of Myers v. Schneiderman, in which the plaintiffs sought to establish a ‘right’ to physician-assisted suicide under the Constitution of the State of New York. In a unanimous 5-0 decision, the Court of Appeals rejected the claims of the plaintiffs, affirming that the New York State’s existing laws against physician-assisted suicide are constitutional.
We congratulate the New York State Court of Appeals and concur with its decision, upholding the respect for the Constitution of the State of New York, upholding the role of the Legislature as policy maker, and recognizing that New York State “has a significant interest in preserving life and preventing suicide, a serious public health problem.”
Although this decision means that there is no right to suicide in the New York State Constitution, this does not mean that assisted suicide cannot be passed legislatively. New York State Right to Life will continue to fight any attempt to pass such legislation. New York must protect and defend the lives of people living with terminal illnesses and disabilities and create options that value and celebrate every life.
Thankfully, the New York State Senate and Assembly adjourned on Wednesday, June 21, without taking up three anti-life measures. The bills had all been referred to various committees and progressed no further, with no committee votes or floor votes being taken.
A.3693 (S.159) — Additional funding to Planned Parenthood
A.6959A (S. 17A) — Allowing payment to surrogate mothers
A.02383 (S.03151) — Allowing assisted suicide (medical doctors to prescribe drugs to help patients end their lives)
While we’re relieved that none of these bills were passed into law during this session, it’s quite likely they will all be reintroduced next year. There’s even a possibility that the legislature may reconvene over the summer and might take up any of these. So please stay vigilant, informed, and let your state legislators know what you think about these issues.
The legislative session in Albany came to an end on Friday, June 17, without a floor vote on the assisted suicide bill. That means there will be no further consideration of this legislation until the NYS Assembly and Senate reconvene next year.
However, this by no means suggests that we can let down our guard. The supporters of physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill know that it may take several years to get this bill through and are geared up for the battle. We have to be ready to oppose them for as long as it takes.
The deceptively titled “Medical Aid in Dying Act,”(A.10059) was taken up by the NYS Assembly Health Committee in May. There it passed by vote of 14-11 to move on to the next step, the Codes Committee. But the session ended with no further action being taken.
Ellen Jaffee of the 97th AD in Rockland, a member of the Assembly Health Committee, voted for this bill.
Thank you to everyone who was part of the effort to stop this dangerous legislation — visiting our legislators in Albany, contacting them by phone and email, and sending postcards.
Please continue to keep yourself informed, as this issue will no doubt be back next year. Here are some sources for information:
New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide
Not Dead Yet
New York State Catholic Conference
Although assisting suicide is only legal for a small fraction of the world’s population, advocates are focused on promoting this dangerous legislation in New York. The NY Assembly Health Committee voted to move forward with the legislation yesterday.
A.10059 and the companion bill S.7579 have gotten traction under the false notion that assisted suicide will be providing terminally ill people with merely one more “option.” However, this is far from the truth. This deceptively titled “Medical Aid in Dying Act” is riddled with dangerous problems that seek to destroy existing protections for the vulnerable.
Most legislators have never considered legislation like this, and they need to know that New York does not want to destroy existing protection for those facing a difficult diagnosis.
It is urgent that you make contact with your Assemblymember now and urge them to oppose assisted suicide bills A10059/S7579.
AD 96 — Kenneth Zebrowski 518-455-5735, ZebrowskiK@assembly.state.ny.us
(Clarkstown & Haverstraw, part of Ramapo)
AD 97 — Ellen Jaffee 518-455-5118, JaffeeE@assembly.state.ny.us
(Orangetown, part of Ramapo)
AD 98 — Karl Brabenec 518-455-5991, email@example.com
AD 99 — James Skoufis 518-455-5441, SkoufisJ@assembly.state.ny.us
The assisted suicide legislation’s language purports to establish “safeguards” around assisted suicide and restrict it to the terminally ill and the competent. However, these kinds of assisted suicide proposals are opposed by medical groups (including the Medical Society of the State of New York and the American Medical Association) and many in the disability rights community. Safeguards simply do not work:
- There is no protection for those seeking assisted suicide because they suffer from treatable depression or any other mental health issue
- Predictions that someone will die in six months are often wrong
- Abuse of elders and people with disabilities is a growing but often undetected problem
- If assisted suicide is legalized, it will quickly become the cheapest alternative to medical treatment
- There is no residency requirement: New York is already home to the abortion capital of the nation, it need not become a suicide destination as well
Albany, NY – With very little notice and few specific details, the Assembly Health Committee scheduled a vote on a bill to legalize doctor-prescribed suicide for the terminally ill today and approved the measure by a 14-11 vote. Now the bill moves on to the Codes Committee.
Assemblyperson Ellen Jaffee of Rockland, a member of the Health Committee, voted to approve the measure (A-10059).
The New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide noted that the measure passed by only three votes.
“Thankfully, many members of the Health Committee have demonstrated their grave concern for vulnerable New Yorkers who may be harmed by this dangerous public policy, or worse yet, whose autonomy will be compromised and who will feel as though the healthcare system gives them no choice but to kill themselves,” said JJ Hanson, president of the Patients’ Rights Action Fund.
Read “Aid in dying bill passes Assembly Health Committee” (Times Union).
From Ed Mechman, Esq., Director of Public Policy for the Archdiocese of New York:
Yesterday, there was an important victory in the courts. The Appellate Division in Manhattan (our intermediate appeals court) ruled that New York’s laws against assisted suicide did not violate the NYS Constitution, and were thus valid and enforceable.
The court found that despite the advocates’ attempt to change terminology to such things as “aid in dying”, the reality is that suicide is suicide, and the law makes that perfectly plain. The court also ruled that it was perfectly reasonable for the law to distinguish between suicide and declining medical treatments.
This is a major decision. Although the suicide advocates may appeal it to our Court of Appeals, it will strengthen our arguments to legislators that this debate is all about suicide, and nothing else.
Thanks be to God for a wise court!
Daily News: Court ruling doesn’t allow doctor-assisted suicides in New York State
Assisted suicide continues to be in the forefront of legislative issues being considered in Albany. Some claim it is simply “medical assistance in dying” and not suicide. But what is really at stake here?
Join us as we host Educational Evenings throughout the Archdiocese to learn the facts. We will look at the actual legislation and all of its medical, legal and ethical implications. Sponsored by the Family Life/Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of NY with main speaker, Ed Mechmann, Esq. Public Policy Director and Sr. Lucy Marie, Respect Life Coordinator.
Tuesday, March 15, 7:30-9 pm, at St. Gregory Barbarigo Church, 29 Cinder Road, Garnerville 10923. Please park in the gym parking lot.
RSVP required to Sr.Lucy.Marie@ArchNY.org