Delaware Urged to Advance Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill After 2nd Northeast State Authorizes End-of-Life Care Option in Last Two Months

Group Says Terminally Ill Delaware Residents Deserve Same Option to Die Peacefully
June 13, 2019

Compassion & Choices is urging Delaware lawmakers to move the Ron Silverio/Heather Block Delaware End of Life Options Act (HB 140), the state’s medical aid-in-dying legislation, out of committee so that the entire House of Representatives can consider this important bill.   

Compassion and Choices’ call to the Delaware legislature comes after similar bills were passed and signed into law by two northeastern state governors in the last two months, Maine’s Janet Mills yesterday and New Jersey’s Phil Murphy on April 12.

Like the new Maine and New Jersey laws, Delaware’s legislation would allow mentally capable, terminally ill adults with six months or less to live to have the option to request a doctor’s prescription for medication they can decide to take if their suffering becomes unbearable and die peacefully in their sleep.

“Terminally ill Delawareans deserve to have the same option to peacefully end needless suffering that Maine and New Jersey residents will soon have,” said Kim Callinan, CEO of Compassion & Choices.

“I am very happy for the residents of Maine and New Jersey that their legislatures and Governors took a stand for the autonomy and self-determination of the terminally ill.  I look forward to the day when the Delaware legislature and Governor provide this same option to their terminally ill constituents,” stated bill sponsor, Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-District 23).

“Endings are important. Individuals with terminal illnesses should be able to have end-of-life options that are compatible with their lives and experiences,” said Judy Govatos, Wilmington resident living with stage 4 lymphoma. “I am advocating for a law that will allow me and other people the option and compassion to do just one last thing. I want to live fully until I can’t; knowing that I have the option of dying gracefully.”

Maine is now the 10th jurisdiction to allow medical aid in dying in 25 years and 6th to do it in the last five years (New Jersey in 2019, Hawai‘i in 2018, Washington, D.C. in 2017, Colorado in 2016, California in 2015, Vermont in 2013, Montana in 2009, Washington in 2008, and Oregon in 1994). Nearly 70 million Americans live in these jurisdictions, more than one-fifth (22%) of the nation’s population.

Compassion & Choices
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