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Death With Dignity Legislation Background in New York State

The New York State legislature is considering death with dignity legislation in New York State. The legislation is
modeled after laws in Oregon and other states. Currently 6 states and Washington DC have authorized the procedure
either through court rulings, referendum, or state legislation.

• Oregon in 1994 through ballot initiative
• Washington in 2008 through ballot initiative
• Montana in 2008 through court ruling
• Vermont in 2013 through legislation
• California in 2015 through legislation
• Colorado in 2016 through ballot initiative
• Washington DC’s Death with Dignity law went into effect on February 18, 2017

Over the years, our state legislature has considered several different bills that would legalize death with dignity in
New York State. The most updated proposal, A.2383 (Paulin) / S.3151 (Savino).

Death with Dignity/Assisted Suicide/Aid in Dying:

Although the practice has many names, in general most policies have the same basic guidelines in place to safeguard both patients seeking to receive the medication and doctors prescribing the medication. States with death with dignity laws all include qualifying criteria:

• a competent adult over the age of 18 can request a prescription to end his or her life only if diagnosed as terminally ill and likely to die within six months,
• the request for a prescription from licensed physicians must be made both in writing and orally,
• the individual must be able to self-administer the medication,
• the individual must be of sound mind and capable of clear communication,
• the laws often require a series of requests and waiting periods to guard against abuse. Patients diagnosed with
mental illness and people with disabilities are ineligible.


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