Cuomo says he would sign physician aid in dying bill

Apr 10, 2019

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he would sign legislation allowing people with a terminal illness to seek life-ending medication from a physician. 

Speaking Tuesday on public radio's WAMC in Albany, Cuomo said he knows the topic is "difficult'' for many people and that his support would depend on the details of the legislation.  

Credit National Public Radio

"I say pass the bill," Cuomo said. "It's a controversial issue, it's a difficult issue, but the older we get and the better medicine gets, the more we've seen people suffer for too, too long."

Legislation that would require two doctors to sign off on the use of life-ending medication has been introduced for years in Albany, but has not received a vote.  

"My father (former New York Governor Mario Cuomo) started the Death and Dying Commission, way ahead of his time as usual," Cuomo continued. "It depends on what the bill says, but I think it's a situation that we have to address, definitely."

Seven states and Washington, D.C., already allow people to seek a doctor's help in ending their life. Lawmakers in New Jersey passed a similar measure last month, and Gov. Phil Murphy says he will sign the bill.

Attorney Bernadette Hoppe spent her last days fighting for medical aid in dying.

Buffalo Family Law attorney and life-long activist Bernadette Hoppe - who was diagnosed with cancer at age 49 - was among those fighting for New York's Medical Physician Aid in Dying Act until her death at age 54 in March.

In December, she talked with WBFO about being in hospice during the holiday season. You can click on the link to that feature here.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.