Assisted-Suicide Bill Back Before New York Lawmakers

ALBANY (AP/Hamodia) - Legislation that would authorize people with terminal illnesses to request death drugs from physicians is again before state lawmakers in Albany, though top lawmakers are either skeptical about its chances or firmly opposed.

The bill would require two doctors to certify that a patient is competent to make the decision and is suffering from a terminal illness, and physicians could refuse to participate for any reason. Two witnesses would be required to be present when a patient completes a written request.

The proposal has been introduced before but hasn’t received a vote by the full Legislature. It still has very vocal opponents, including Senate Leader John Flanagan.

“This is a very, very, very sensitive subject,” he said Tuesday. “I don’t support physician-assisted suicide.”

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the bill must receive rigorous scrutiny before it’s ready for a vote.

“I’m not sure it can or will be done,” he said.

Several groups including Jewish groups, the Catholic Church and advocates for the disabled oppose the measure. They worry others might pressure elderly relatives to end their lives to receive inheritances sooner.