On May 23, 2016, the New York State Assembly Health Committee considered physician-assisted suicide legislation (Bill S.7579-Savino/A.10059-Paulin). In order for the 26-member Health Committee to advance a bill, that bill must receive at least 14 “yea” votes. Following debate and discussion, the Committee voted, 14-11, to advance the bill; the legislation now moves to the Assembly Codes Committee for consideration. If pro-abortion, pro-same-sex-“marriage” Republican Asm. Janet Duprey (R-Peru) had not crossed party lines to support the bill, it would not have received enough votes to advance.
While NYCF hoped to block physician-assisted suicide in the Assembly Health Committee, we find several recent developments to be encouraging. The razor-thin margin by which the bill was approved is a good sign, as is the fact that six Democratic Members of the Assembly Health Committee voted against it. Also, a number of legislators and staff have remarked on the strong negative feedback they have received from voters regarding physician-assisted suicide. NYCF is thankful for all New Yorkers who contacted their legislators to speak out against this bill, for the legislators who expressed concern and opposition during the May 23 Health Committee meeting, and for the ongoing efforts of the New York Alliance Against Assisted Suicide. While physician-assisted suicide legislation will likely remain on life support for the remainder of the 2016 legislative session, NYCF expects that it will not receive a vote in either house of the State Legislature this year.