Respect Life

Maintain a Ban on Assisted Suicide

Printable version: Maintain Ban on Assisted Suicide

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Summary

New York’s current law prohibits assisting in suicide by anyone, including doctors who prescribe lethal doses of drugs to end the lives of terminally ill patients who wish to die. This law was challenged in 1994 and upheld as constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Vacco vs. Quill in 1997.

Two pieces of legislation have been introduced in the New York Legislature to legalize physician-assisted suicide, and they are equally dangerous. In addition, a new lawsuit has been filed by an assisted suicide advocacy organization to overturn New York’s ban. The 2014 assisted suicide death of 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, who moved to Oregon to secure a physician’s help to commit suicide, has renewed efforts across the country to legalize this practice.

Conference Position

The Catholic Conference seeks to maintain New York State’s current prohibition on assisted suicide while ensuring increased support, resources, palliative and hospice care, appropriate pain relief and treatment for the terminally ill.
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Restrict State Funding of Abortion

Summary

Legislative proposals in New York State historically do one of two things: either they a) amend the state’s Social Services Law to delete most abortion and abortion-related services from those which can be funded under the medical assistance (Medicaid) program, or they b) amend the annual state budget to prohibit the use of Medicaid dollars within the state fiscal year budget from funding most abortions.

Exceptions are included in these proposals which allow funding for abortions in cases of reported rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother’s life. This tracks the federal Hyde Amendment.

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The Death Penalty

Summary

In 2004, the New York Court of Appeals struck down New York’s death penalty statute, holding it unconstitutional under the New York State Constitution. In October 2007 the Court affirmed that ruling, and the last remaining death sentence in the state was vacated. As a result, New York State may not impose the death penalty at the current time.

However, a more long-term solution continues to be needed to ensure that the death penalty is repealed from the statutes of New York State. In December 2007, New Jersey became the first state in the nation to legislatively abolish capital punishment. New York State should follow that lead.

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Ensure Informed Consent (The Woman’s Right to Know Act)

Summary

This legislation would require physicians to provide women considering abortion with information concerning the risks of abortion, alternatives to the procedure, and non-judgmental, scientifically accurate information about the gestational age and development of their unborn child. It would then give women sufficient time to reflect on the decision, to weigh their options and to give voluntary, knowledgeable and informed consent to the procedure.

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Promote and Support Adoption

Summary

This proposal would increase state support for initiatives to promote adoption as a positive alternative to abortion. The legislation would include several elements:

  • A public relations campaign to educate the public and clients of social service agencies regarding the availability and attractiveness of adoption as an alternative for an unplanned or crisis pregnancy, and to recruit more adoptive parents. A major component of this campaign would be an increased emphasis on promoting the adoption of special needs children.
  • Financial support for adoptive parents and their children through tax relief, particularly for those who adopt children from the foster care system.
  • Financial support for the Maternity and Early Childhood Foundation, and for private agencies that promote adoption.

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Parental Notification for Abortion

Summary

This bill would require 48 hours notice to one custodial parent prior to abortions performed on unemancipated children under age 18, or, in the alternative, a family court waiver of parental notification.

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Unborn Victims of Violence Act

Summary

This legislation would prohibit the assault or homicide of an unborn child during the commission of a crime against the mother.

Conference Position
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