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Proposed ‘Right to Die’ bill stokes controversy

There is new life for a bill that would allow a person who is dying the ability to end his or her own life by taking medication given to them by a doctor.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week that he would support the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act.

It is under consideration in Assembly and Senate committees.

The bill carries a list of strict guidelines a person would have to follow. Lawmakers said it’s not just as simple as letting anyone request the medicine. A person has to be terminally ill and they will need the approval of two doctors to sign off on their request.

Some people like Susan Rahn of Rochester see the benefit in the proposed legislation.

She is proof that a diagnosis doesn’t define a person.

“In 2013, I was diagnosed with stage four metastatic breast cancer which is a terminal diagnosis,” she explained.

Since that time, Rahn said there have been scary and overwhelming moments. “I was terrified, I didn’t know how long I was going to have to live. I had a son entering high school and my only thought was, ‘Was I going to see him graduate high school?'”

However, she said her treatment plan has allowed her more time with her family than doctors first thought.

“I am considered an outlier because the average life span of someone with this illness is about 18-36 months,” she added. “Living with the disease is difficult. The medication I am on makes me tired and makes my bones and joints hurt.”

She said she’s been advocating for this bill for about four years and has often made trips to Albany to talk to lawmakers.

She believes it should be a person’s decision what they do with their life.

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