The two architects behind New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act have amended added additional safeguards to the legislation in the hope it can soon become law.

The act would allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who have been given six months or less to live to take their own lives with a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs.

The changes include:

  • Making even more explicit a prohibition that a health insurance company cannot deny coverage for care because a person requests, or fails to request the procedure
  • Expanding the list of people who cannot serve as a witness to a dying patient who requests the procedure to include the patient’s domestic partner, health care proxy, or anyone who has power of attorney for the patient.
  • Extending immunity from adverse action for those who refuse to participate in the procedure by adding a new section explicitly providing immunity from “employment, credentialing, or contractual liability or penalty for any reasonable good-faith action or refusing to act under” the law

“Twenty-two of my colleagues have joined me in sponsoring the Medical Aid in Dying Act and many others have talked to me about their support,” said state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal, sponsor of the legislation in that chamber. 

“As I continue to talk to my colleagues about this important legislation – as I have for the last nine years – I’m often moved by experiences in their lives that they share with me, and also the very smart suggestions they make to improve the bill,” Assemblymember Amy Paulin, who sponsors the bill, said in a statement. 

For nearly a decade, advocates for the Medical Aid in Dying Act, including those facing terminal diagnoses, have shared stories to help push the bill over the finish line in the Legislature. The measure has faced strong opposition from groups, especially people with disabilities who argue the law does not do enough to protect them from being pressured into the procedure.

The changed were praised by the group Compassion & Choices, a nonprofit aiming to improve end-of-life health care options.

“We are grateful to Senator Hoylman-Sigal and Assemblymember Paulin for the extensive interaction they continue to have with their colleagues. They are talking to their fellow legislators about medical aid in dying and the bill,” NY/NJ Campaign Director Corinne Carey said in a statement.


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