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Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

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Delaware bill would allow euthanasia for ‘intellectually disabled’

Fr. Mark Hodges Fr. Mark Hodges

DOVER, Delaware, January 29, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Delaware state House is considering an assisted suicide bill that would allow the mentally incompetent to be killed.

Introduced by Rep. Paul Baumbach, a Democrat, the Delaware End of Life Options Act (HB 160) has an amendment which says “intellectually disabled” terminally ill people may be killed.

“These are people who can’t legally enter contracts! They can’t control where they live! They can’t make their own medical decisions! They also can’t vote, pursuant to the Delaware Constitution!” Wesley J. Smith wrote for National Review. “Yet, if they have a terminal illness, they are going to be able to commit assisted suicide if a social worker –who may be ideologically predisposed in favor– confirms that they ‘understand.’”

“It doesn’t even require approval of a guardian, as would corrective surgery or treatment to cure or palliate,” Smith added. “Good grief!”

“The assisted suicide lobby is committed to expanding who ‘qualifies’ for assisted suicide,” Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, told LifeSiteNews. “The language in the Delaware bill is part of the assisted suicide lobby’s attempt to expand the assisted suicide laws.”

At issue is the interpretation of “terminal illness” as being an incurable ailment that will cause death in six months no matter what, or one that would cause death in six months only if left untreated.

“The term ‘terminally ill’ (in HB 160) is very vague,” Alexandra Snyder of Life Legal Defense Foundation told The Stream. “Does this include those with treatable conditions? What about those who elect not to receive treatment? This would radically expand the number of people who would qualify for a lethal dose of barbiturates.”

“Pro-suicide” groups manipulate words to make killing sound “humane and dignified,” Snyder said. “It’s a way of normalizing suicide.”

Other problems Snyder noted include:

  • Doctors do not know how long a patient will live.
  • Faced with the prospect of large medical bills, the poor can be pressured into suicide.
  • Adult children and relatives of the elderly can seek to hasten death for material benefit.
  • The Delaware legislation calls death by suicide “humane and dignified.”
  • “Suicide laws send the message (to society) that certain people’s lives are not worth living.”
  • The suicide rate among the general populace goes up in states that have enacted “aid-in-dying” laws.

“Death by suicide is inherently undignified,” Snyder critiqued.

She said such laws impact society toward more of a culture of death: “In Oregon, which legalized assisted suicide in 1997, the suicide rate is 35% higher than the U.S. average.”

Donna Latteri, who organized a pro-life demonstration against HB 160 last week, said the Delaware bill “opens up a can of worms for elderly abuse and abuse from anyone who would in any way benefit from the death of that person.”

“We want to protect life from womb to tomb,” Latteri added.

“Assisted suicide corrupts everything it touches,” Smith concluded. “For those with eyes to see, let them see.”

The Delaware House could vote on HB 160 as soon as March 6.

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