- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - A bill that would authorize people with terminal illnesses to request life-ending drugs from a physician has cleared a hurdle in New York’s state Legislature.

The proposal would require two physicians to certify the patient’s illness is terminal. Physicians could refuse to agree to the request for any reason.

The Assembly’s Health Committee passed the bill Monday. It faces significant challenges in the full Legislature, but advocates hailed the committee’s vote as a “historic” step.

Supporters say the bill gives suffering patients the freedom to end their lives with dignity but has proper safeguards.

Opponents worry the measure would be abused and say the bill is being rushed through the Legislature without proper study.

Later this year California will become the fifth state to allow end-of-life assistance.

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