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Physician-assisted suicide bill likely to return to Leg Hall

Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers are expected to consider legislation allowing physician-assisted suicide again next year.

The measure would allow doctors to give life-ending medication to terminally-ill adults deemed mentally competent.

The controversial legislation sponsored by State Rep. Paul Baumbach (D-Newark)  never made it to a floor vote last session because it lacked the necessary votes.

“Well we came up extremely close, we were one vote short in the House in June, so it’s not going to require much more than where we already were just a few months ago," he said.

But Baumbach said he hopes he can convince some House freshmen to support it. He said because about a fourth of House membership is new this year, the votes to pass may be there now.

“The 25 percent turnover of new members in both chambers I think is a real positive for this," he said. "This is also an issue which is shown to be roughly 70 percent supported by the public in every state that’s been looked at.”

Baumbach said he’s refining the current safeguards in the previous legislation and will reintroduce a bill next year.

The last iteration required two doctors to make a diagnosis and the patient had to self-administer the medication. It also required patients to ask for the medication twice and go through two waiting periods.

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