Advocates continue to push for medical aid in dying bill

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Ayla Eilert was living her dream of working as a professional dancer in New York City when was diagnosed with tongue cancer in September of 2021. She died six months later at the age of 24.

Ayla’s parents, Amy and Daren Eilert, miss their daughter every single day. Amy said Ayla was, “always forgiving and beautiful.”

Their hearts broke watching their daughter suffer and deteriorate through her terminal illness. They said part of the pain was watching Ayla, who loved food struggle to eat.

“Food is so inextricably tied to life, and our joy and taste,” Amy said.

Amy said the last thing Ayla ever tasted was a raspberry that she wasn’t able to swallow.

Amy and Daren said they wish Ayla would have had the choice of medical aid in dying. They have traveled from Dallas, Texas to Albany multiple times since their daughter passed, hoping to get a bill passed that would legalize medical aid in dying in New York.

Legislation like this has been passed in only ten other states and the District of Columbia.

To be eligible for medical aid in dying in United States authorized jurisdictions, an individual must be 18 years or older, have a terminally ill prognosis with six months or less to live, be mentally capable of making their own mental health care decisions, and be able to self-ingest the medication.

Some lawmakers said this bill is their top priority.

“This bill is really about personal autonomy and agency and having control of your lives, all the way through,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal (D-47th Senate District).

Some lawmakers said this bill, still undergoing amendments in both chambers,, will be an uphill battle the pass with only 15 days left of session.


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