NY's highest court takes on physician-assisted suicide

May 31, 2017

The debate over physician-assisted suicide has gone before New York State's highest court.

Credit National Public Radio

The Court of Appeals heard arguments Tuesday in a case filed by terminally ill patients who say they should be allowed to seek life-ending medication from their physician.

The attorney for the plaintiffs urged the judges to reverse a lower court ruling dismissing the challenge. He said existing laws against assisting a suicide should not apply to terminal patients seeking help from physicians because of an underlying and incurable condition.

An attorney for the state, however, countered that assisted suicide is a question of policy that must be left to the Legislature.

A ruling is expected this summer. Legislation to permit and regulate physician-assisted suicide has been introduced, but is not expected to get a vote this year.