Local clergy provide prospective on assisted suicide legislation

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Legislation will be introduced at the next state session to allow a terminally ill patient to request a prescription for life-ending medication.

The forum held Thursday aimed to open an interfaith dialogue about the controversial issue.

While those against assisted suicide have different objections, religion is often the grounds on which it is opposed.

“Religions beyond theological considerations and ritual considerations are all one way or another concerned with the important transitions that one goes through in life,” David Gordis, Rabbi and Visiting Senior Scholar at the University at Albany, said.

Transitions like birth, starting a family and of course death. And when it comes to dying on the grounds of faith many oppose aid in dying. The panelists say do not opt to take your own life.

“No one is saying and I’m not saying either that taking one’s life is the best choice for anyone in any situation.”

Advocate Amanda Cavanaugh who lost her partner to cancer says it is about choices.“It was something that she thought would be a good option for her, maybe she wouldn’t have used it but just knowing that she had that option and that it was something available to her was very comforting,” Cavanaugh said.

“It was something that she thought would be a good option for her, maybe she wouldn’t have used it but just knowing that she had that option and that it was something available to her was very comforting,” Cavanaugh said.

At the library, polls were cited that say a large number of people of faith in the state support the bill, however, there are still many who find it hypocritical.

The director of the State Catholic Conference says “the term ‘death with dignity’ is predicated on the false notion that there is something inherently undignified about a natural death. This is not only untrue but insulting to all who choose not to end their lives via assisted suicide.”

They voiced concerns about those who are most vulnerable to the poor , the elderly and people with depression of disabilities and pressure they may receive to end their lives prematurely. They believe state policy on end of life issues should focus on palliative and hospice care, which address the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient.

If passed next year New York would become only the fourth state to offer medical-assisted death.

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