'Despair over hope': Pro-life nurses group 'will not comply' with Delware's assisted suicide bill

A hospital patient in a bed.
A hospital patient in a bed. | Getty Images

A national coalition of pro-life nurses says they "will not comply" with Delware's assisted suicide bill that passed in the Senate Tuesday as the state's lone Catholic diocese is calling on people of faith to urge Democratic Gov. John Carney to veto the legislation. 

H.B. 140 passed in the Senate with an 11-10 vote and will become law unless Carney vetoes it. Under the proposed law, adult patients who are "terminally ill" or have received the prognosis that they have six months or less to live can request or self-administer drugs to hasten their deaths.

Both the individual's attending physician or attending advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) and a consulting physician or APRN must agree on the patient's condition and decision-making capacity. Two waiting periods must pass before the patient can receive the drugs to end their life, and medical professionals who prescribe the medication must provide the patient the opportunity to rescind the request to kill themselves. 

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

The law would also grant immunity to medical professionals who offer life-ending drugs to patients, so long as they are "acting in good faith and in accordance with generally accepted health-care standards under this Act." As the bill states, those "acting with negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct do not have criminal or civil immunity."

"The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) must develop rules and regulations to collect information regarding compliance with this Act and require health-care providers to file a report when medication to end life in a humane and dignified manner is prescribed or dispensed," the proposed legislation states. 

"DHSS may review samples of records maintained under this Act. The information DHSS collects must include the information necessary to assess a physician's or APRN's compliance with their responsibilities under this Act and DHSS has explicit authority to share information with the Division of Professional Regulation if DHSS suspects that a health-care provider failed to comply with the requirements under this Act."

The National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, which has advocated against assisted suicide legislation for over 30 years, condemned the bill, calling it a "moral catastrophe that corrupts the very soul of healthcare."

Marie Ashby, NAPN's executive director, argued in a statement to The Christian Post that the bill "preys" on "the desperate and devalues the disadvantaged," adding that it offers "poison as a perverse form of mercy" to people society deems "inconvenient."

"Legitimate healthcare heals; it doesn't kill," Ashby added. "This law perverts our profession's sacred duty, turning nurses from guardians of life into agents of death. We will not be silent. We will not comply."

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has consistently voiced its opposition to assisted suicide. 

"We ask Delaware Catholics and all people of good will to contact Governor Carney and ask him to stand up for the elderly, sick and disabled, by vetoing this dangerous and immoral legislation," the diocese said in a statement. "We ask all Christians and those of other faith traditions to join the Catholic community in prayer for our Governor, that he will not allow Delaware to be the latest state to allow government sanctioned suicide."

Delaware Senate Majority Leader Bryan Townsend sponsored the legislation alongside fellow Democrat Rep. Paul Baumbach, who introduced the bill. While the proposed law allows certain adult Delaware residents to end their lives, an individual is not eligible to take their life under the law for reasons related to advanced age, disability or mental illness.

"Respecting human life means respecting the rights of adults to make informed decisions about their own bodies, including when to work with a healthcare provider to end their suffering from a horrible and irreversible terminal illness," Townsend said in a statement about the bill. 

NAPN President Dorothy Kane contends, "Delaware has chosen death over dignity, despair over hope."

"This law doesn't just fail patients — it betrays them. It transforms healers into killers and homes into death chambers. We urge Governor Carney to veto this legislation immediately," she said.

"This isn't about choice — it's about coercion," Kane asserted. "HB140 does not empower patients; it abandons them. It tells the sick, the elderly, and the disabled that their lives are burdens to be discarded." 

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles