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Lawmakers look at Medical Aid in Dying Act as session rolls forward

New York is among several states with medical aid-in-dying bills introduced this legislative session.

recent poll found residents are more likely to vote for candidates who support medical aid in dying.

Asm. Amy Paulin, D-Scarsdale, has been trying to get medical aid in dying passed in New York for a few years. She said the New York Medical Aid In Dying Act would allow people diagnosed with a terminal illness and of sound mind the right to make a personal choice.

“It’s really just a matter of dignity for people during a very horrendous time in their life,” Paulin explained. “It’s so reassuring for people to have a prescription that they know that they can use at any time if their pain becomes unbearable.”

Paulin acknowledged the bill does not currently have enough support among Democrats or Republicans to move out of the Senate Health Committee, where it was referred at the beginning of this year.

Jim Lee, CEO of Susquehanna Polling and Research, which conducted the survey, pointed out with 68% of Republicans and 70% of Democrats polled in support, it is not a partisan issue.

“It was a real personal issue for them, so we didn’t see that there was stronger support with one political party or the other,” Lee reported. “The fact that we have strong consensus on this type of medical issue, I think, speaks volumes.”

Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices, which commissioned the poll, said it also showed strong support across the religious spectrum, including among Catholics.

“While the Catholic hierarchy is opposed to medical aid in dying, they are not speaking for the people that are sitting in the pews,” Callinan asserted. “66% of Catholics personally want the option of medical aid in dying available.”

Washington, D.C., and 10 states allow medical aid in dying, including nearby New Jersey and Vermont.