A New York Court has rejected a petition by three terminally ill patients to be allowed access to assisted suicide drugs.
The Court of Appeals made its ruling on Thursday after a protracted legal battle during which two of the plaintiffs passed away.
“The [New York] assisted suicide statutes apply to anyone who assists an attempted or completed suicide,” the court wrote in its unanimous decision. “There are no exceptions.”
Assisted suicide and euthanasia are currently illegal in New York, but the plaintiffs had argued that the law should not apply to those seeking merciful ends to incurable illnesses.
“We are very disappointed by the court’s decision,” said Edwin Schallert, a lawyer for the patients and doctors who brought the lawsuit. “It will prevent terminally ill New Yorkers from exercising an important option to achieve a peaceful death.”
Opponents of assisted suicide praised the Court's ruling.
"The decision is a significant victory for those who would be most at risk of abuse and most susceptible to pressure to take their own lives, including the isolated elderly, persons with disabilities and those who are depressed and overcome with hopelessness," said Kathleen Gallagher of the New York State Catholic Conference.
Assisted suicide and/or euthanasia is currently legal in six US States as well as the District of Columbia.
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