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New York Catholic Conference fighting assisted suicide bill

Medical professional holds hand of dying patient

sfam_photo | Shutterstock

John Burger - published on 01/26/24

Advocates cite evolution of Canada's Medical Aid in Dying as example of slippery slope.

The New York State Catholic Conference has issued a strong call to New Yorkers to voice their opposition to a bill that would permit residents to end their lives if they face a terminal diagnosis.

“With the 2024 legislative session underway, advocates and the bill sponsors of physician assisted suicide are pushing hard for a vote to legalize this deadly practice in New York State,” said the Catholic Action Network, a branch of the Catholic Conference. “Lawmakers need to hear from their constituents if we hope to avoid yet another assault on human life here. … Suicide is not medical care.”

The bill, S2445-A/A995-A, is called the Medical Aid in Dying (MAID) Act. 

The Catholic Conference calls the legislation “particularly dangerous for some of the most vulnerable citizens of our state: the elderly, the poor, the under-insured, people in medically underserved communities, people with depression, and people living with disabilities.”

“Such individuals will be pressured into choosing death over life by health insurance decisions to fund only the least costly treatment; by family members feeling over-burdened or even those wishing to exploit their loved ones; by medical professionals who may subtly make judgments about whose lives are worth living. A state policy of physician-assisted suicide can only lead to coercion and abuse,” the Conference says.

Learn from your neighbors

When the legislation was introduced last year, the Conference issued a Memorandum of Opposition. It warned that New York could follow Canada’s experience of going down a “slippery slope.”

“What began in 2015 as a limited program for those with irreversible, terminal and painful illness has morphed into something entirely different in just a few years,” the Conference warned. 

“Subsequent to its initial legalization, availability for assisted suicide in Canada was expanded to those without terminal illness, but merely with an ‘intolerable’ condition,” the Conference said. “There are plans in place to expand it further, to the mentally ill and even to ‘mature minors.’ Assisted suicide has been discussed and sought out as a solution for homelessness. There have been reports of doctors offering it to veterans suffering from PTSD, and those in need of extra help to live independently. As the Associated Press recently reported, people with disabilities and depression have been euthanized. It has been written about in terms of the cost-savings it would provide for the healthcare industry.”

On the other hand, the New York State Catholic Conference supports Bill A5587, which would establish state offices of hospice and palliative care access and quality.

DeathEuthanasiaMedicineNew YorkPolitics
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