Three bills in New York State, one in the Senate and two in the Assembly, if passed, would allow physicians to prescribe medication in doses lethal enough to end a patient’s life. Senator Diane Savino and Assemblywomen Amy Paulin and Linda Rosenthal are looking to add this new section the public health law.
With the notoriety of Brittany Maynard, the young California woman diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, physician-assisted suicide and “death-with-dignity” have been the subject of much debate. Maynard moved to Oregon where, under the law, she was allowed to end her life with the help of legally-prescribed medications.
In New York State, with the proposed bills from Savino, Paulin and Rosenthal, the Catholic Conference recently explained its opposition.
Legalizing physician-assisted suicide would blur longstanding medical, moral and legal distinctions between withdrawing extraordinary medical assistance and taking active steps to destroy human life. One lets people die a natural death; the other is the deliberate and direct act of hastening death.
It also undermines the physician’s role as healer, forever alters the doctor-patient relationship, and lessens the quality of care provided to patients at the end of life. Patients are best served when medical professionals, together with families and loved ones, provide support and care with dignity and respect, not lethal doses of drugs.
The American Medical Association holds a policy position against physician-assisted suicide, which they say is “fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role” and would be “difficult or impossible to control.” read more...