Staten Island Advance
Advocates for the legalization of physician-assisted suicide in New York suffered a decisive defeat in court early this month. In its May 3 ruling in Myers v. Schneiderman, a unanimous panel of the Appellate Division, First Department, declared that there is no fundamental right to die under the New York Constitution, nor do any of the state’s statutes, including the Penal Law, implicitly recognize such a right.
The court cited a 1997 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court which held unanimously that New York’s ban on physician-assisted suicide doesn’t violate the federal Constitution. The Appellate Division then concluded that the various plaintiffs in the current lawsuit offered “nothing other than conclusory arguments” for why the state Constitution should be interpreted differently than its federal counterpart. While the plaintiffs have vowed to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, it is highly unlikely that the state’s highest court will view their arguments any more favorably than the Appellate Division did.
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