Monday, July 8, 2024

Delaware Legislation Legalizing Assisted Suicide & Euthanasia Awaits Governor’s Action

By Sarah Mueller 

Delaware Governor John Carney (pictured below) could soon decide whether to sign legislation legalizing medical-assisted dying.

Sometimes known as “physician-” or “medically assisted suicide,” the legislation would allow terminally ill people with less than six months to live to request and ingest medication to end their lives.

The House passed the bill 21-14, with four Democrats absent in April. The vote in the Senate originally failed 9-9, but passed days later 11-10.

This is the first time Carney, who is in his final year in office, will have to decide on this issue. He can sign the bill, veto it or allow it to take effect without signing it. Carney has 10 days to act on a bill after it is sent to him.

After initially telling WHYY News that the bill had been sent to the governor, a state House spokesperson said on Thursday that Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach, the prime sponsor, said the bill has not yet been sent to the governor. A spokesperson for the governor said lawyers were reviewing the legislation. Requests to clarify their answers received no response.

Carney, who is Irish Catholic, said his position on the issue has been public since versions of the bill were introduced by Democratic Rep. Paul Baumbach in 2015.

According to the Dialog, Carney said he wouldn’t support the measure lawmakers were considering in 2022.

“I know this is an extremely difficult and personal issue for many of my constituents, and I have sympathy and compassion for those who are grappling with these painful questions,” Carney told The Dialog at that time. “Ultimately, though, I believe enabling physicians to facilitate suicide crosses a boundary that I’m just not comfortable crossing.”

The governor said he’ll review the current legislation to see if there are changes he’s not aware of and would also consider the bill, partly, from personal experience.

“My father passed away in the hospital with all of us there,” he said. “My mother who was close to dying, and has survived and is still living and she’s 93 years old.”