Governor Andrew Cuomo announced in a radio interview April 9 that he is in favor of “medical aid in dying,” aka physician-assisted suicide, and said he would sign a bill authorizing it. According to the New York State Catholic Conference, the governor had never indicated a position on this before, so his support is noteworthy and very troubling.
Physician-assisted suicide bills in New York, like similar bills that have passed in several other states, lack important safeguards, making coercion or misapplication of the law a serious threat. Furthermore, they send a dangerous message to society that when someone is considered a “burden” to someone else, his or her life is no longer worth living.
While New York rightly spends millions of dollars a year to combat suicide, it is considering undermining these efforts significantly by declaring that oftentimes, suicide is “death with dignity.” The not-so-subtle implication is that those who choose to fight for their lives or to simply allow themselves to die a natural death are somehow undignified.
The New York State Catholic Conference has joined other opponents as part of the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide, made up of patients-rights, disabilities-rights advocates, health care, civil rights and faith-based advocacy organizations. Together we support increased access to palliative care (comfort care) and a rejection of the dangerous national movement toward physician assisted suicide.