WXXI AM News

Advocates for Aid in Dying measure in NY include former NPR host Diane Rehm 

Apr 14, 2021

A virtual rally for a bill to allow terminally ill New Yorkers to end their lives featured former public radio talk show host Diane Rehm. She is among many advocating for the Aid in Dying Act.

In 2014, Rehm’s husband, who had late-stage Parkinson’s disease, stopped eating and drinking in order to hasten his death, a painful act that took 10 days. The Rehms lived in Maryland, which like New York, does not allow medical aid in dying. She said the COVID-19 pandemic, where over a half-million Americans have lost their lives, has made people even more aware of end-of-life issues.

“Now, people realize more than ever that dying could come at any time,” Rehm said. “And we must be prepared for it.”

The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblymember Amy Paulin, has not yet advanced to the Health Committee in either house.  Supporters say many lawmakers already back the bill, and they hope they can convince enough other members to see it become law. Gov. Andrew Cuomo already said he backs the concept. Opponents include the Catholic Church and some conservative groups.