Home Our Diocese Another failure for proponents of physician-assisted suicide in Delaware

Another failure for proponents of physician-assisted suicide in Delaware

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Disabled protesters against physician-assisted suicide gather in their wheelchairs outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. This edition of Viewpoints looks at the question: How should Catholics view laws allowing physician-assisted suicide? (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters) With VIEWPOINTS Nov. 2, 2015.

A bill that would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Delaware failed last week to get legislative consideration, the second unsuccessful push this year.

House Bill 160, the so called ‘End of Life Options Act,’ would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Delaware, according to the Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network.

Disabled protesters against physician-assisted suicide gathered in their wheelchairs outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. (CNS photo/Jason Reed, Reuters)

The measure was introduced by Rep. Paul Baumbach, D-Newark, last year. It was again pulled from the agenda last Thursday because at least one legislator backed off, leaving proponents of the bill at fewer than the 21 votes necessary, according to Delaware State News. The same thing happened in January.

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, other faith groups, the Medical Society of Delaware, the Delaware Health Care Association and advocates in the disabilities community are among those opposing the legislation.

In a January letter to Delaware legislators, Bishop Malooly urged lawmakers to vote no.

“The Catholic Church is opposed to physician-assisted suicide legislation because it seeks to legalize and normalize the intentional taking of human life,” the bishop wrote. “This deliberate activity violates the most basic tenets of our belief in the sanctity of life and simultaneously poses dangers to vulnerable populations.”

The advocacy network describes numerous flaws in the bill. Among the issues cited include the bill “would legalize and normalize participation in the intentional taking of human life by members of the medical profession; insufficient safeguards for the disabled and for the elderly; it would require physicians and others to make misstatements on official records, stating the underlying terminal illness must be listed as the cause of death on the death certificate, when in fact the cause was suicide; and a lack of a requirement for a psychological examination prior to the administration of the lethal dose.”