By Chris Haring

Earlier this year, New York lawmakers reintroduced a medical aid-in-dying bill that would legalize physician-assisted death as an end-of-life option.

Many New Yorkers living with terminal illness are hoping that this is the year that the state finally joins ten others, which with Washington, D.C., permit medical aid in dying. As Elise Kline wrote for Western New York News Now, with S2445 still in committee in both chambers, lawmakers have been speaking optimistically in favor of this session’s iteration of a right-to-die law. Meanwhile, activists like Amy and Daren Eilert, who lost their 23-year-old daughter, Ayla, to painful tongue cancer, traveled from Dallas, Texas, to Albany to advocate for a legal, physician-assisted end-of-life option. Read the full article below:

Lawmakers push to pass medical aid in dying legislation

April 25, 2023 By Elise Kline

ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Earlier this year, lawmakers re-introduced legislation that has been stalled for almost a decade. The bill would legalize medical aid in dying, legislation passed in only ten other states and the District of Columbia.

“This legislation could not be more important. And it’s not just important to some constituency here or some group of New Yorkers there. It matters to each and every one of us. Because we all want that choice,” said Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-47th Senate District).

To be eligible or medical aid in dying in United States authorized jurisdictions, an individual must be 18 years or older, have a terminally ill prognosis with six months or less to live, be mentally capable of making their own healthcare decisions, and be able to self-ingest the medication.

Some people concerned about the bill call into question the ethics of the issue and the profits made from insurance companies.

While supporters of the bill said it’s an act of love to end suffering.

Amy and Daren Eilert, traveled all the way from Dallas, Texas to advocate in Albany on behalf of their daughter, Ayla, who died at the age of 23 from tongue cancer.

Ayla was working as a ballet dancer living her dream of working in Manhattan when she was diagnosed in September of 2021. She died six months later.

“You could see the cancer expressing itself, these huge tumors expressing right out of her neck. She couldn’t talk toward the end, and she would always indicate she had a pain level of ten. And would just claw at her neck. She was begging for medical aid in dying,” Daren said.

While in pain, Amy recalled Ayla telling her, “please mom, you have to do it. My soul is being torn apart.”

The bill is currently still in committee in both chambers. Some lawmakers said the bill has been stalled for so long because it couldn’t get enough votes out of committee, but they are confident they can do it this year.