ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – If you were diagnosed with something that could kill you, would you want the opportunity to have someone end your life?
The story of Brittany Maynard made national headlines at the end of 2014. She was a 29-year-old woman who moved to Oregon from California so she could choose when to end her life after she was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
Her story brought Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act into the national spotlight and that discussion continues in New York.
The University at Albany hosted a Death with Dignity discussion on Friday along with some New York lawmakers. An End of Life Choices Act has been proposed in the New York senate, which would allow terminally ill, competent adults the option to choose when to end their lives.
“I also do not want to see any other family go through the trauma that my family went through with this unjust prosecution,” Barbara Mancini said.
Mancini spoke at the event and recalled the painful experience of watching her 93-year-old father suffer in his last days. In her home state of Pennsylvania, Mancini said she gave her dying father a prescribed bottle of morphine so he could drink the last of it.
As a result, she faced Assisted Suicide felony charges.
“So it was a very painful experience for not only my dad and me but our entire family,” she said. “I have since become an advocate for aid in dying.”
Dozens of people came together at UAlbany’s Milne Hall to learn more about the controversial issue.
“I think that people’s dying process doesn’t need to be as painful as they have become in this country,” Mancini said.
A community-based interest group assembled on Thursday to talk about pushing legislation forward in New York.
“It’s difficult to change laws, but a change needs to be made,” Mancini said.
Legislation would allow mentally competent, terminally ill adults the option to request a prescription for life-ending medication that they could self-administer. So while there is still much opposition, others still have questions.
“What are people’s goals of care with all their wishes, and how can we change laws to have a better death?” Compassion and Choices Regional Manager Mark Dann asked.
“No one is asking people who don’t believe in this to take part in it,” Mancini said. “But it should be an available choice within the whole spectrum with end of life care.”
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