Supporters of a long-proposed bill that is meant to give patients with terminal illnesses the power to end their lives are urging Gov. Kathy Hochul and top lawmakers in the Legislature to approve the measure this year. 

A bill that would give terminally ill people the option of ending their lives is once again being called for by advocates. But the bill has stalled for years in the Legislature, and opponents continue to have concerns. 

"We really want the governor, as well as the leadership, to take this bill as something they can do this year and help stop the suffering and improve the lives of New Yorkers," said Amanda Cavanaugh, a spokeswoman for Compassion and Choices, a coalition that has formed to support the measure. 

Advocates this month dropped off a petition to the governor's office with the signatures of 4,000 New Yorkers in support of the aid-in-dying bill. 

"It just shows the governor as well as lawmakers what we already know: New Yorkers want this option, they support this option," Cavanaugh said. 

Those supporters include Dr. Mary Applegate, a retired public health physican, who said doctors' approach to terminally ill people has changed. 

"Over the decades, we've realized that people do end up in situations where life is no longer a value to them," she said. "In fact, it's more painful than the alternative."

Instead, doctors want to alleviate the suffering people are feeling, she said. 

"They need to have help in exiting gracefully and with dignity and with as little pain as they possibly can," Applegate said. 

But advocates for people with disabilities, including the Center for Disabilities Rights' Zach Garafalo, have concerns.

"People with disabilities, again, are the most oppressed group of people who this would negatively affect," said Garafalo, the group's government affairs manager. "The focus of this is not about the person who could potentially receive this, but about having other people to coerce that person to make a choice against their will."

Supporters of the measure have contended the bill as written has sturdy safeguards to prevent someone from being taken advantage of during an end-of-life procedures.