Latino Groups Endorse Medical Aid in Dying Act

Guillermo Chacón, an 11-year cancer survivor, said terminally ill patients should have the right to decide. (Photo by Gregg McQueen via The Bronx Free Press)

The Latino Commission on AIDS and the Hispanic Health Network will be partnering with Compassion and Choices, a national organization advocating for end-of-life choices, to push for passage of New York’s Medical Aid in Dying Act, reports Gregg McQueen in The Bronx Free Press. If passed, the law would make New York state the sixth state, along with Washington D.C., to provide terminally ill adults with the legal right to request a prescription to end their life.

Guillermo Chacón, an 11-year survivor of cancer and president of the Latino Commission on AIDS and founder of the Hispanic Health Network, is working for the bill’s passage. And even some clergy within the community understand the need for such legislation.

Father Luis Barrios, priest-in-charge of Holyrood Episcopal Church in Washington Heights, said he has comforted and prayed with many terminally ill cancer and AIDS patients who have “begged to die.”

“It is the memory of these brothers and sisters that has helped me to lend my voice to help authorize the medical practice of aid in dying,” he said.

“I don’t have any problem with the notion of death, because death is part of life,” Barrios added. “It is a liberation from it. It is how we face it and how we go through the dying process that makes a difference.”

Barrios noted a study by Lifeway Christian Resources indicated that 69 percent of Hispanics supported medical aid in dying, and the majority of Christians found it “morally acceptable.”

Go to The Bronx Free Press to read more about the bill and what some of its supporters have to say.

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