Delaware Senate passes assisted suicide legislation on second attempt

assisted suicide

UPDATE 6/26/24: Just days after the Delaware Senate failed to pass HB140, the state’s assisted suicide bill, lawmakers reconvened and passed the bill with an 11-10 vote on a second go-around. Pending Democratic Governor John Carney’s signature, the bill will legalize assisted suicide in the state.

The deciding vote was Sen. Kyra Hoffner, the bill’s sponsor. Hoffner had declined to vote last week after hearing testimony from fellow Democrats who were opposed to the bill, but said she spent the weekend reflecting and talking to supporters, which resulted in her affirmative vote.

“I’m sorry that I did not vote Thursday like I wanted to,” Hoffner said. “It has been a very emotional weekend for me.”

The National Association of Pro-Life Nurses (NAPN) sent a statement denouncing the bill’s passage.

“Delaware has chosen death over dignity, despair over hope,” lamented Dorothy Kane, NAPN President. “This law doesn’t just fail patients—it betrays them. It transforms healers into killers and homes into death chambers. We urge Governor Carney to veto this legislation immediately.”

“Make no mistake—this bill preys on the desperate and devalues the disadvantaged. It whispers ‘die’ to those society finds inconvenient, offering poison as a perverse form of mercy,” added Marie Ashby, NAPN Executive Director.

“Legitimate healthcare heals; it doesn’t kill,” Ashby continued. “This law perverts our profession’s sacred duty, turning nurses from guardians of life into agents of death. We will not be silent. We will not comply.”

6/25/24: Lawmakers in the Delaware Senate last week failed to pass a bill that would have allowed assisted suicide in the state, though there is a chance that the bill can soon be reintroduced for further consideration. It previously passed the state House in April.

The bill received a 9-9 tie vote, failing to clear the majority threshold needed for passage after three Democratic senators joined their Republican counterparts in opposition. According to the Associated Press, at least one of the Democratic ‘no’ votes could have been strategic, as there is now a chance for the bill to be reintroduced this week, as per the AP, “under Senate rules, a motion for reconsideration can be made by a member who voted on the prevailing side, which in this case includes the ‘no votes’ and members not voting.”

“Life and death is not without its own challenges, but I don’t believe it needs to be legislated,” said Sen. Nicole Poore, a Democrat who opposed the bill. “I’m a firm believer in choice, but I don’t know one doctor who can correctly deliver a death date,” she added. “In other states where they have this, they’re already talking about ‘their worth is not of value’ when it comes to people with disabilities.”

The legislation would have allowed a resident of Delaware who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given less than six months to live to request assisted suicide drugs. Two oral requests would be required, along with a written request after a 15-day waiting period. The drugs would need to be administered by a doctor or advanced practice registered nurse. Though proponents of such legislation always applaud such regulations as “safeguards” to ensure the legislation is not abused, such regulations are almost always eventually loosened or repealed.

READ: 5 biggest lies the abortion industry has told since Roe v. Wade was overturned

“Should this become law, guardrails can be uninstalled, and modified,” warned Democrat Sen. Spiros Mantzavinos, who opposed the bill. “I am troubled by the pressures individuals may face. It’s documented that the last two years of life are the most expensive. These sorts of things can distort the decision-making process.”

Though the bill did fail, the Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network is warning its followers that the legislation could soon be brought back for consideration.

“It is our understanding that there is an effort under way to pass a motion to rescind the roll call and restore the bill and bring it back before the Senate for consideration,” the advocacy network said in its alert. “Please email and/or call members of the Senate to urge them to vote against the motion.”

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