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Advocates In Albany Work To Get Medical Aid In Dying Act Passed This Year

ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) - Six states and the District of Columbia allow physicians to assist terminally ill patients who want to die, and supporters of these bills are working to add New York to that list.

Advocates were in Albany Monday calling on New York Legislators to pass a bill allowing medical assisted suicide in the state - and to raise awareness to change public opinion on end of life options available to patients and their families.

Dr. Timothy Quill is the Founding Director of the UR School of Palliative Care and was supporting the cause in Albany with the group Compassion & Choices.

He says he’s worked in palliative care and hospice his whole career.

"I think we have a responsibility to develop as many options as we can for those tough cases. For the patients and families who are going through it it’s extremely important that they be given as many choices and options as they can have."

Quill hopes the changeover in Albany might lead to them getting this passed.

"Clearly I think there is some progressiveness in Albany that perhaps was not there before and I think it gives us an opportunity to perhaps see some movement there."

But not everyone is happy about this possibility. President and CEO of the disability-rights organization, Not Dead Yet, Diane Coleman says "these bills do not prevent mistakes, coercion or abuse and, therefore, endanger the lives of old, ill and disabled people."