Nail Biter

Is assisted suicide dead in Delaware?

I was at the edge of my seat yesterday, praying intensely as HB 140, the bill to legalize assisted suicide in Delaware, came for a vote on the Senate floor.

It looked like it was going to fail!

That morning, Jonathan Quatela with the Church Ambassador Network team of pastors prayed specifically against HB 140. Legalized assisted suicide would change the ethos of medicine and incentivize the system meant to save our lives to end them instead.

Retiring Representative Paul Baumbach(D) has proposed the bill to legalize assisted suicide for the past 8 years. This was the first year that HB 140 was brought all the way to the Senate.

I became hopeful during the Senate floor session when three Democrat legislators voiced strong opposition to the idea of legalized assisted suicide. All of the 6 Republican Senators were already opposed to HB 140.

However, there was a problem – one of the legislators opposed to HB 140 was out of town. HB 140 was scheduled for the floor too last minute for him to be there in person.

HB 140 needed 11 votes to pass. My heart began to sink. With 10 who supported and 10 who opposed, Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long(D) could cast the tie-breaking vote and pass the bill.

That’s when I noticed one of the Republican legislators leave the room.

Behind the scenes, the legislators opposed to HB 140 strategically prevented the 10-10 split that would have guaranteed HB 140’s immediate passage. Undoubtedly recognizing the maneuver, Senator Townsend(D), a sponsor of the bill, switched his vote to a no. According to Senate rules, this put him in the prevailing side of the final vote and allows him to bring the bill back up for a vote within 3 days.

This means that we need Senator Hoffner(D), the only legislator to not give a definitive yes or no vote, to hold that stance or vote no. If she can hold on until June 27th, the bill will die this session.

From now until June 27th, we need you all to specifically ask Senator Hoffner to oppose HB 140.

Please be respectful and gracious. One thing was clear during the hearing – the issue of assisted suicide touches a personal chord with many of our legislators. Disrespect is never effective.

Senator Hoffner needs to know this:

  1. NO disability group in Delaware supports this bill; assisted suicide hurts those communities the most! And it sends the demeaning message that human dignity must be tied to autonomy.
  2. It is not possible to legislate away fraud, and many of the “safeguards” that are currently in HB 140 have been ruled unconstitutional in other states and removed.
  3. The death pills do NOT guarantee a painless death! Dr. Neil Kaye’s testimony reveals that 33% of people who took the death pills took 30 hours to die.


Above all, please pray. Your prayers and gracious but firm comments impacted the Senators who voted no that day.

Advancing Truth,

Nandi Randolph
Policy Analyst
Delaware Family Policy Council

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