Medical Aid-in-Dying Bill Introduced in Delaware House of Representatives

72% of Delawareans and Nearly 75% of Delaware Physicians Surveyed Support the Legislation
May 9, 2023


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The Ron Silverio/Heather Block Delaware End of Life Options Act (HB140), permitting medical aid in dying in Delaware was introduced in the Delaware House of Representatives Tuesday by Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-District 23). The bill has support from every member of Democratic caucus leadership. Sponsoring senators and representatives include:

Heather Block in front of a skyline

Heather Block

The legislation would allow a mentally capable, terminally ill adult the option to request and self-ingest prescription medication to peacefully end their suffering if it becomes unbearable. The bill has a wide range of safeguards, including a requirement that two healthcare providers certify that a patient has a prognosis of six months or less to live, and makes it a crime to coerce a terminally ill person into using medical aid in dying.

The bill is named in honor of two Delaware advocates for passing this legislation, Dover resident Ron Silverio and Lewes resident Heather Block, both of whom died in 2018 after extended needless suffering because they did not have the option of medical aid in dying.

“Physicians have a duty to relieve the suffering of patients with incurable, terminal diseases,” said Dover neurologist, Robert Varipapa, MD, voicing his opinion. “The reality is even the best hospice and palliative care cannot relieve suffering for every terminal patient. Medical aid in dying should be an end-of-life patient choice for terminally ill patients to peacefully end their suffering when there is no other viable option.”

Medical aid in dying has broad, bi-partisan support among Delaware voters. In a January-February 2020 survey by GBAO Research + Strategies, 72 percent of Delawareans surveyed said they support legislation that would allow medical aid in dying in the state. According to the survey, support for medical aid in dying in Delaware transcends demographic, geographic, and political lines that often separate First State voters. In addition, a survey conducted in June 2022 by NüPOINT Marketing found that nearly three in four (74%) Delaware physicians surveyed support medical-aid-in-dying legislation, and 70% said they would want the option for themselves, if necessary.

Ron Silverio

“This legislation offers qualified terminally ill Delawareans greater bodily autonomy during their end-of-life journey,” said Rep. Baumbach. “Knowing they have the option of medical aid in dying is a great comfort to many terminally ill patients, whether they choose to act on that option or not.”

“Unfortunately, Delawareans Ron Silverio and Heather Block died without the option of medical aid in dying, something they both desperately wanted,” said Kim Callinan, President & CEO of Compassion & Choices, which is leading a grassroots campaign to pass the Ron Silverio/Heather Block Delaware End of Life Options Act.

Medical aid in dying is legal in nine states: New Mexico, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Maine, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, as well as Washington, D.C.

For more information about the 2020 Delaware medical-aid-in-dying survey, visit:

To see the results of the 2022 Physicians Poll, visit:

For background information and an FAQ about medical aid in dying, visit:

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