New York

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September 7, 2017
“No state constitutional right to assisted suicide, New York high court rules”
(Washington Post — September 7, 2017)
According to the decision, “Although New York has long recognized a competent adult’s right to forgo life-saving medical care, we reject plaintiffs’ argument that an individual has a fundamental constitutional right to aid-in-dying as they define it.  We also reject plaintiffs’ assertion that the State’s prohibition on assisted suicide is not rationally related to legitimate state interests.”
….”The State also has a significant interest in preserving life and preventing suicide, a serious public health problem.”
Judge Eugene M. Fahey also stated that “the Legislature may reasonably criminalize assisted suicide ” (1) “because to permit the practice…would place New York on a slippery slope toward legalizing nonvoluntary euthanasia,” and (2) “because a right to assisted suicide by the terminally ill in circumscribed last-resort situations would inevitably expand to include persons who are not terminally ill.”
Decision in Myers v. Schneiderman (September 7, 2017)

2017
Ao2383, the “Medical Aid in Dying Act,” was introduced in January 2017.  It is the same as S03151.
Text of A02383

An additional bill, A03598, the New York End of Life Options Act,” has also been proposed.
Text of Ao3598

Neither bill passed in 2017 but can be carried over to the 2018 session.

2016
A10059, the “Medical Aid in Dying Act,” was introduced on May 10, 2016.
Text of A10059
[Note:  As with S.B. 3685, one of Savino’s previous bills, this latest bill would not require that a person be a resident of New York to qualify for doctor-prescribed suicide.  Therefore, if passed, New York could easily become a national suicide destination.]

S.B. 3685, introduced in 2015 by Senator Savino, was still pending in 2016
Text of S.B. 3685, titled “New York end of life options act”
Analysis of S.B. 3685

Assemblywoman Amy Paulin has amended her doctor-prescribed suicide bill.
A.5261-C
Text of bill

2015
Four doctor-prescribed suicide bills have been introduced in New York.

Text of A02129, titled “the Death with Dignity Act” and actions on bill
Analysis of A02129
Text of S.B. 3685, titled “New York end of life options act”
Analysis of S.B. 3685
Text of S.B. 5814  (Text of A 5261 is identical to S.N. 5814)

Court case challenging NY law prohibiting assisted suicide filed on 2/4/15
The plaintiffs argue that what they call “aid-in-dying” is not assisted suicide.
Text of complaint filed 2/4/15

Note:  The lead counsel for those seeking to change the NY law is Kathryn Tucker.
Until recently, Tucker was the legal director for Compassion & Choices (formerly called the Hemlock Society).  She has been lead counsel in other cases challenging laws against assisted suicide.  Most notably, in 1997, she unsuccessfully sought to have the U.S. Supreme Court declare assisted suicide a constitutional right.  In a 9-0 opinion, the Court rejected her arguments.

…………………….

Current law regarding assisted suicide

A person is guilty of promoting a suicide attempt when he intentionally causes or aids another person to attempt suicide.  Promoting a suicide attempt is a class E felony.  (NY Penal Law (consolidated) § 120.30)
A person is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree when he intentionally causes or aids another person to commit suicide.  Manslaughter in the second degree is a class C felony.  (NY Penal Law (consolidated) § 125.15)

New York State Task Force Report on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
• “When Death is Sought” – Original Report (1994)
• 1997 Supplemental Report

Articles

“No state constitutional right to assisted suicide, New York high court rules”
(Washington Post — September 7, 2017)
According to the decision, “Although New York has long recognized a competent adult’s right to forgo life-saving medical care, we reject plaintiffs’ argument that an individual has a fundamental constitutional right to aid-in-dying as they define it.  We also reject plaintiffs’ assertion that the State’s prohibition on assisted suicide is not rationally related to legitimate state interests.”
….”The State also has a significant interest in preserving life and preventing suicide, a serious public health problem.”
Judge Eugene M. Fahey also stated that “the Legislature may reasonably criminalize assisted suicide ” (1) “because to permit the practice…would place New York on a slippery slope toward legalizing nonvoluntary euthanasia,” and (2) “because a right to assisted suicide by the terminally ill in circumscribed last-resort situations would inevitably expand to include persons who are not terminally ill.”
Decision in Myers v. Schneiderman (September 7, 2017)

NY High Court Rejects Assisted Suicide Right
(National Review — September 7, 2017)
When a social movement feels the need to hide its actual agenda beneath a veneer of gooey euphemisms (“aid in dying,” “death with dignity,” etc. there is something very subversive about the agenda.
[Assisted suicide proponents wanted the court to pretend that a lethal dose used in self-killing isn’t really suicide.]
This blatant word engineering attempt is rejected outright by the court.  “Aid-in-dying falls squarely within the ordinary meaning of the statutory prohibition on assisting a suicide.  [Myers v. Schneiderman pp. 6-7]
More on Verbal Engineering

“NDY Activists Deliver Counter to NY Assisted Suicide Proponents’ Lobby Day”

(Not Dead Yet — May 9, 2017)
“There’s no way to open this door just enough,” Adam Prizio, government affairs manager for the Center for Disability Rights, told the Times Union earlier this year.  “No matter where you open it, some number of people with disabilities will be killed through coercion, through abuse, or through insurance companies trying to save money.”
More on Disability Perspective

“Mount Vernon Mayor Richard Thomas urges rejection of assisted-suicide bill”
(Times Union — June 4, 2016)
As mayor of a majority-minority community, I know firsthand the difficulties residents with income challenges face in obtaining adequate health care access….The debate concerning end of life care has always been framed as a left vs. right issue, progressive vs. conservative, and religious vs. secular.  The truth is, assisted suicide laws preserve the status quo and benefit the haves over the have-nots.

“Savino’s end-of-life bills: Cruel choices, deadly mischief”
(Staten Island Advance — May 16, 2016)
The latest proposed doctor-prescribed suicide legislation is titled the “Medical Aid in Dying Act.”
[Note:  As with SB 3685, one of New York’s previous bills, this latest bill (A10059) would not require that a person be a resident of New York to qualify for doctor-prescribed suicide.  Therefore, if passed, New York could easily become a national suicide destination.]

“Weak Oversight Lets Dangerous Nurses Work in New York”
(ProPublica — April 7, 2016)
New York lags behind other states in vetting nurses and moving to discipline those who are incompetent or commit crimes. Often, even those disciplined by other states or New York agencies hold clear licenses.
More on Nurses

“Brain cancer patient fighting assisted suicide bills in NJ & NY”
(my9nj — November 10, 2015)

“Why disabled people like me fear medically assisted suicide”
(Syracuse.com — November 5, 2015)
I, along with my allies in the disability community, urge all New Yorkers to understand that assisted suicide is not a “right” to be glorified, but a double standard that is lethal to communities that are already marginalized, oppressed and abused.  We deserve the same suicide prevention that nondisabled people enjoy, because despite the widespread belief otherwise, I assure you, our lives are worth living.
More on Disability Perspective

“Terminally ill New Yorkers lose lawsuit to overturn assisted-suicide ban”
(New York Post — October 20, 2015)
A Manhattan judge has tossed a lawsuit by three terminally-ill New Yorkers and five doctors who wanted to overturn a law that makes assisted suicide a felony…[T]he US Supreme Court has already found that New York state laws prohibiting assisted suicide are not a violation of civil rights.

“Terminally ill New Yorkers sue to overturn assisted-suicide law”
(New York Post — February 4, 2015)
Three terminally ill New Yorkers and five doctors who care for dying patients are suing the state’s attorney general to overturn a law that makes assisted suicide a felony.

“Lawsuit Seeks to Legalize Doctor-Assisted Suicide for Terminally Ill Patients in New York”
(New York Times — February 3, 2015)
A group of doctors and terminally ill patients are asking New York courts to declare that doctor-assisted suicide is legal and not covered by the state’s prohibition on helping people take their own lives.

“To Collect Debts, Nursing Homes Are Seizing Control Over Patients”
(New York Times — January 25, 2015)
…In a random anonymized sample of 700 guardianship cases in Manhattan over a decade, Hunter College researchers found more than 12 percent were brought by nursing homes…[L]awyers and others versed in the guardianship process agree that nursing homes primarily use such petitions as a means of bill collection…. Guardianship transfers a person’s legal rights to make some or all decisions to someone appointed by the court…Legally, it can supplant a power of attorney and a health care proxy.

“New York State Lags on Firing Workers Who Abuse Disabled Patients”
(New York Times — August 8, 2013)
One state worker bit a patient’s ear. Another threatened a co-worker if she called the police. A third left a patient naked and bleeding. A fourth knocked a group home resident out of a chair, hit the resident on the back of the head.
All were found culpable of wrongdoing in internal disciplinary proceedings. But none was fired.

“Lawmakers: Discussion minimal”
(Post Star — Glens Falls, NY — June 5, 2013)
Assemblyman Tony Jordan said it would not be surprising if the Vermont law resulted in discussions in Albany.
When it was pointed out to Jordan those in favor of the bill use Death With Dignity, while opponents call it assisted suicide, he observed, “Whenever we call bills by different names, it’s because the topic makes us uncomfortable.

“Hospice: Dying with dignity”
(Post Star — Glens Falls, NY — June 5, 2013)
Andy Cruikshank, executive director of Fort Hudson Health Systems, agrees an assisted-suicide program requires a great deal of analysis.
Bob Puglisi, a spokesman for Community Hospice said the hospice has not developed a position either for or against the idea.