One of New York’s top medical associations reiterated its opposition to assisted suicide as lawmakers debate a bill to allow the practice.
The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) rejected a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of medication to patients that have received terminal diagnoses. Dr. Arthur Fougner, the group’s president, acknowledged that end-of-life care is a “complex issue,” but said that any bid to legalize the practice would harm “vulnerable populations.”
“There are great disparities in access and quality of care at the end of life and we are particularly concerned about the impact of Medical Aid in Dying on vulnerable populations,” Dr. Fougner said in a statement. “The Medical Society of the State of New York is opposed to physician assisted suicide.”
The medical society’s concerns echo frequent criticism made by assisted suicide opponents, especially from disability groups and minority communities that are more likely to lack adequate health coverage. The legislation could give insurance companies an incentive to cut costs by refusing to cover expensive life-saving care and opt instead for a one-time dose of poison. Kristen Hanson, widow of pioneering anti-assisted suicide activist J.J. Hanson and a spokeswoman for the Patients Rights Action Fund, called the association’s announcement “welcome news.” An upstate New York resident, she has testified against the legislation in Albany and similar bills in statehouses across the country.
“The reaffirmation of the MSSNY’s opposition to assisted suicide comes as the New York legislature considers this bad public policy, which is ripe for abuse, coercion, and mistakes,” Hanson said. “New Yorkers, especially the terminally ill, those of advanced age, and persons living with disabilities, can continue to count on the dedicated doctors of New York to care for them in their time of need.”
Read more at the Washington Free Beacon…