Six Legislators From Across New York State Explain Their Support for NY Medical Aid in Dying Act; Urge Colleagues to Act This Session

Portland, Oregon, February 15, 2024 – A group of New York legislators is featured in a new video in support of the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act (A995a/S2445a), currently awaiting a committee vote in this legislative session. Produced and distributed by Death with Dignity, the two-minute video captures these legislators’ reasons for supporting the law.

Assemblymember Amy Paulin (D-88) said many legislators support the bill because they have a personal experience or have met with constituents who are facing a difficult death, like she did after becoming the bill’s chief Assembly sponsor in 2015.

“It just changes you. You see death differently. You understand there are choices,” said Assemblymember Paulin.

Assemblymember Jessica González-Rojas (D-34) said she supports the law, which gives dying terminally ill New Yorkers the right to make their own end-of-life choices.

“Death with Dignity means the individual who’s experiencing the end of life – a terminal illness – can make that choice to determine if, when, and how they want their life to end. Dignity is about that choice,” said Gonzales-Rojas.

Others appearing in the video include Senator Nathalia Fernandez (D-34) and Assembly Members Catalina Cruz (D-39), Anna Kelles (D-125), and Kenny Burgos (D-85).

“It’s important to let individuals believe what they want and live their life as they would like, so long as it doesn’t impact your own, and I think the Medical Aid in Dying Act is one of those bills,” said Burgos.

Dr. Peg Sandeen, CEO of Death with Dignity, said the legislators represent a wide swath of New York voters who support the law by a 72-23% margin, according to a recent YouGov Poll conducted in January of 2024. 

“New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act has 65 cosponsors in the Assembly and 23 cosponsors in the Senate. These legislators know from their own experiences and perspectives how important it is for people to have control at the end of their lives. We are grateful to these legislators for sharing their personal stories with their colleagues and constituents,” said Dr. Sandeen. 

“There is really nothing but the hierarchy of the Catholic Church and its proxies standing in the way of passage, and they should not be allowed to force their religious beliefs on nearly 20 million New Yorkers. This proposed law respects the sanctity of the relationship between a patient and their physician by leaving the religious views of others outside the doctor’s office.”

This year’s video is the second in a series that began at the end of the 2023 legislative session. In the first video, Senators Brad Hoylman-Sigal and Jessica Scarcella-Spanton joined Assembly Members Phara Souffrant-Forrest, Karines Reyes, and Chantel Jackson shared their own journeys to becoming bill sponsors and advocates. 

For media inquiries, please contact Elia Lawatsch: [email protected].