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Viewpoint: Deny Dover’s death-dealing bills

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Spring, nature’s season of rebirth and growth, has taken on a deadly aspect in Dover’s Legislative Hall with the introduction of three bills this session that focus on ending lives in Delaware.

One bill, Senate Bill 5, would officially make the Federal legalization of abortion part of the Delaware code of laws. The move might seem redundant, but the bill is intended to create back-up law for the First State to invoke, should the Supreme Court ever reverse its 44 years of rulings regarding Roe v. Wade.

Bishop Malooly, in a statement on SB5, has reiterated in his opposition to the measure. He stated on May 1 that the right to life is the first and most fundamental human right, that abortion denies God’s gift of life and dignity to the most vulnerable, and that “the life and dignity of every person must be respected and protected at every stage and every condition. This applies to the unborn as well as the sick, the elderly and those on death row.”

Speaking of the sick and those on death row, two other Dover bills heighten the pro-death tone of the legislative session.

House Bill 125, called the Extreme Crimes Protection Act, seeks to make the state’s death penalty constitutional again.

Bishop Malooly wrote members of the General Assembly last month opposing HB125’s passage, noting that “the fundamental principle that life is precious, every life, and that it is an unalienable right, is something that must be encouraged, especially by the state.”

The bishop acknowledged, “On the one hand, terrible crimes such as the murders of Sgt. Steven Floyd and Cpl. Stephen Ballard, cry out for the ultimate penalty. But on the other hand, the clear message to all in the Gospel is one of mercy, reconciliation, rehabilitation and charity to all, without exception.”

The third proposed law opposed by the bishop, House Bill 160, would legalize physician-assisted suicide in Delaware. However, the bill denies that taking self-administered medication to die is suicide. HB 160 sweeps away the despairing context of suicide by insisting that the self-administered medication “to end life in a humane and dignified manner” will not “constitute suicide, assisted suicide, mercy killing or homicide.”

Such self-administered human and dignified deaths, HB160 states, must not be put on record as suicides either, but officially listed as resulting from the terminal disease that brought on the self-administered medication deaths. So, as far as posterity is concerned, the suicides never happened.

Neither will the legalized suicides be considered as such for insurance policy purposes, according to a May 2 version of the bill. That proviso might smooth any inheritance worries of a family but it might also create coercion.

The traumatic and heart-rending end-of-life decisions faced by families and patients are significant and difficult. But HB160 wants to legalize a dangerous practice that would endanger both the vulnerable elderly and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Please contact the Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network, at www.cdow.org /DCAN to oppose these death-dealing bills introduced in Dover this spring.

 

Ryan is editor/general manager of The Dialog.

 

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