Hundreds of people on both sides of the debate over physician-assisted suicide traveled to Albany on Monday for a hearing on legislation that would allow people with a terminal illness to request life-ending medication from a doctor.
The measure has been discussed for years in the state capital, but faces significant legislative opposition and isn’t expected to pass before lawmakers adjourn their session in June. Under the proposal, which is based on Oregon’s 21-year-old law, a person with a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less may request that the physician end their life if at least two doctors agree with the prognosis and determine the patient is of sound mind.
Supporters say people have the right to die with dignity instead of suffering needlessly. Opponents, including Agudath Israel of America’s Chayim Aruchim and the Catholic Church, argue the law could be exploited.
A second hearing on the bill is scheduled for May 3 in New York City, where Agudah’s Mordechai Biser is scheduled to testify.