ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Right to die advocates were at the state’s highest court on Tuesday to argue that people with terminal illnesses should be able to end their own lives.
The appeal hopes the court rules that a trial is needed.
Kathryn Tucker is stepping inside New York’s highest court to argue that terminally ill patients should have a medical option to end their life.
“There’s nothing to suggest the legislature intended to prohibit this practice,” Kathryn Tucker, Executive Director End of Life Liberty/Co-Counsel Myers v Schneiderman, said.
Tucker’s experience tells her patients are more likely to keep the medicine, if approved, in a medicine cabinet than use it.
“We now know from 20 years experience elsewhere in the country, when patients are empowered with this choice, they make it relatively rarely, but very comforted to have it.”
Advocates like these in Albany hope New York joins Oregon and Montana where aid in dying medication is legal and Tucker argues care actually improves once doctors know its ok to prescribe it.
“Physicians take more seriously the treatment of the pain and other distressing symptoms, they refer patients more often for hospice, they make those referrals earlier.”
“If anything should be done, it should be the legislature, not the courts,” Adam Prizzio, Center for Disability Rights Inc. Government Affairs Manager, said.
Prizzio and a handful of advocates from the Not Dead Yet Group in Albany stood outside the courthouse prior to oral arguments their argument; aid in dying should not be an alternative option.
“There’s no way to legalize physician-assisted suicide that will not cause disabled people to be killed by it, through abuse, neglect, coercion and insurance companies seeking to save money.”
These advocates meanwhile argue having the medication option could result in convincing vulnerable people to take it, that doesn’t really want to.
A debate, for now, tied up in the courts.
The courts final ruling will determine whether lower courts can hear the case or if the issue will have to be decided by lawmakers in Albany.
An official ruling could take place by summer’s end.