Statewide Poll Show New Yorkers Overwhelmingly Support Aid in Dying

SCARSDALE – New York State Assemblywoman Amy Paulin (D-88) today announced that a statewide poll conducted in New York by EaglePoint Strategies shows three out of four New York voters support access to aid in dying for terminally ill adults. Paulin is the author of legislation (A.5261-B/S.5814) that allows a terminally ill, mentally competent adult to request life-ending medication that he or she may choose to use to end his or her life.

Eighty-eight percent of those polled agreed that if they are terminally ill, the decision about whether or not to use medication to speed their death should be a decision made between them and their families, under the care of a physician. In addition, 87 percent of those polled agreed that the government had no right to make decisions about medical care if a person is dying from a terminal illness. The clear majorities observed extended across party lines, religious affiliations, levels of education, gender, age and region.

“I am not surprised to learn that the majority of the people polled believe that their fate should rest solely in their own hands,” Paulin said. “The thought of having to suffer through a horrific, painful, degrading death, and one that brings added stress and agony to my loves ones, is inconceivable. A majority of New Yorkers have made clear that they do not want limits imposed on their options of what they can and can’t do when they are terminally ill. If I am terminally ill, I should be able to choose to end my life calmly, peacefully and in a dignified way, at a time and in a setting I choose where I am surrounded by those I love. That is what my bill is about.”

The announced poll results come in the wake of Monday’s news that California Governor Jerry Brown signed that state’s End of Life Option Act into law. California joins Oregon, Washington, Vermont and Montana in authorizing aid in dying.

“I am so pleased that Governor Brown has signed this important legislation,” Paulin said. “Enactment of the law in California, together with the poll results here in New York, reflect the growing recognition by a majority of Americans that terminally ill, mentally competent patients should have the right to choose whether and when to end their own lives with prescribed medication when their suffering becomes unbearable. I look forward to having meaningful discussion with my colleagues in the Assembly about this issue so that New York can be the next state to authorize this end of life option.”

The survey of 1000 registered voters in New York State was conducted by phone last month from September 15-20. Respondents to the poll reflected the State enrolled voting electorate by gender, age, political party and region. The survey has a 3.1% margin of error.

Paulin’s legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Bonacic (R-42).