NY High Court To Decide if NY Doctors May Legally Assist Suicide

New York’s highest court will hear arguments later this month over whether state statutes and its constitution provide room for physicians to legally prescribe medications to help terminally ill, mentally competent people end their own lives, if the patients choose.

The action, Myers v. Schneiderman, 77, is being brought by three individuals who say they may face questions on whether to seek end-of-life medical assistance, as well as five physicians and End of Life Choices New York. The group is the New York affiliate of the End of Life Liberty Project, a Seattle, Washington-based organization that advocates for palliative care, pain management and aid in dying for the terminally ill.

The Court of Appeals has set aside 30 minutes on May 30 to hear oral arguments in the case in Albany.

According to a survey in from the National Conference of State Legislatures in early May, five states have legalized a role for physicians to aid in patient suicides — Oregon, Colorado, Washington, California and Vermont — either through voter-approved referendums or state laws. In addition, a court ruling protects Montana physicians who assist dying patients from prosecution.

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