The passage of New Jersey’s right-to-die law Friday may have given new life to a similar bill in New York.
Gov. Cuomo said he supports proposals before the state Senate and Assembly to make doctor-assisted suicide legal for terminally ill patients.
“I say pass the bill,” Cuomo said during a radio interview last week. “It’s a controversial issue, it’s a difficult issue. The older we get and the better medicine gets, the more we’ve seen people suffer for too, too long.”
“I think it’s a situation that we have to address, definitely.”
The comments came as a surprise to Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) one of the primary sponsors of the bill in the Senate.
“That’s the first time he’s ever indicated that he would be supportive of this measure,” Savino said. “I wasn’t aware he was thinking that way.”
Savino downplayed the potential for New Yorkers going to New Jersey to avail themselves of the law. “You have to establish residency,” she said. “You can’t just fly in for the weekend and take advantage of it.”
Momentum for the legislation would give hope to New Yorkers who are looking for the option to end their lives after being diagnosed with terminal illnesses. But it sets up a contentious fight in Albany.
California legalized the practice in 2016. Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia all have similar laws on the books.