Supporters of a bill that would allow for medical aid-in-dying provisions in New York are undertaking a renewed push to get the measure approved in Albany ahead of the coming legislative session.
The advocacy group Compassion & Choices is set to unveil a new billboard in Buffalo in support of the measure. The billboard will be visible to drivers heading to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport via the Kensington Expressway or Duck Road -- a likely nod to Gov. Kathy Hochul's possible commute to the airport.
“Too many New Yorkers have suffered and are suffering while dying. I’ve lost friends and our cause has lost many who, as they were dying, desperately spent their final days, weeks and months trying to convince Albany lawmakers to do the right thing,” said Corinne Carey, the group's campaign director. “The billboard is grim because for some dying New Yorkers their approaching deaths are grim – and scary, and painful. But lawmakers have the power to stop the suffering."
The measure has stalled for several years in the state Legislature amid opposition from organizations that represent people with disabilities as well as the Catholic Church. But advocates have pointed to public opinion polls, including a Marist College survey released this fall, showing broad support for the proposal.
If approved, the measure would allow mentally capable, but terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to request a prescription from their doctor to end their lives.
Ten states, along with Washington, D.C., allow for medical aid in dying. New Mexico was the most recent state to do so this year.
“The recent Marist poll continues to show that voters – Republicans and Democrats, upstaters and downstaters, whites and ‘non-whites’ – strongly support allowing the same option of medical aid in dying that is available in 10 other states and Washington, D.C., including our neighbors in Vermont and New Jersey,” Carey said. “There is very simply no legitimate policy or political reason for the Legislature and Governor not to pass the Medical Aid in Dying Act early in 2022. That’s the message of the billboard and that’s the message lawmakers and the Governor will hear incessantly until it’s passed.”