New York state's legislative session ended late last week in Albany, with a majority of the focus being on Governor Kathy Hochul's last minute announcement of an “indefinite pause” to New York City's controversial congestion pricing plan.

While the decision, which was considered a shock to many, has deeply divided critics and even left some calling for legal action, other state politicians have been pushing to pass other new laws into effect. Some, such as short-term rental registry, or faster licensing for casinos in parts of the state succeeded to pass.

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But another much talked about proposal on the chopping block was the Medical Aid in Dying Act.

Should Terminally Sick New Yorkers Be Allowed to End Their Lives?

The New York Civil Liberties Union defines the New York Medical Aid in Dying Act as giving people "who are terminally ill with a prognosis of no more than six months to live the option to request, through a tightly regulated process, medication they can administer themselves to bring about a peaceful death".

Similar laws are already legal in ten other states, including New Jersey, Vermont, and Maine. Results of a 2015 poll, posted at End of Life Choices New York, say that 77% of state residents support the right for terminally ill individuals to end their lives.

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According to SI Live, the act was first introduced in the New York State Senate by former Staten Island Senator Diane Savino, and Westchester County Assemblymember Amy Paulin in 2015. City and State NY says that the bill has now failed to pass for nine years.

SI Live says that the bill stated that a person "would have needed to be deemed by doctors as having the mental capacity to make the request", and would need to self-administer the prescribed "cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs" by ingestion.

Opposition for the law lay in the New York State Senate, where it did not have enough votes to pass. Some detractors include those who cite ethical or religious beliefs, while others fear it creates a slippery slope, as the limits of euthanasia "erode".

Some backers have implied that certain opposition is simply uncomfortable talking about dying.

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Gallery Credit: Cort Freeman

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