OPINION

Govatos and Kraus: Carney’s signature needed on end-of-life act

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Editor’s note: The following letter was recently sent to Gov. John Carney and shared with the Daily State News.

As Delawareans living with terminal illnesses, we write with hope in our hearts. After a yearslong struggle, the General Assembly has passed House Bill 140, The Ron Silverio/Heather Block End of Life Options Law. We implore you to sign HB 140 into Delaware law. This legislation is a beacon of hope for individuals like us, who, every day, face the cruel realities of a terminal disease.

The option of medical aid in dying is not about choosing death; it is about enabling control over the inevitable end of life. It provides immeasurable peace of mind and is a great source of comfort and empowerment, even if it is never used. Each of us cherishes the freedoms we enjoy in our lives. What we’re pleading for is the freedom and dignity of choice in death. This deeply personal decision should neither be forced upon nor denied to those of us suffering.

Terminal diseases often come with excruciating pain and suffering. Hospice and palliative care can alleviate many of these issues but not all. Medical aid in dying is a humane and compassionate response to this suffering. Without this option, some of us will experience a prolonged and agonizing death, miss the opportunity to choose our own goodbyes with loved ones or, worse yet, linger on unaware of ourselves or our surroundings. Please try to imagine this for yourself or a loved one.

We understand and respect that there are diverse opinions on this issue. But HB 140 does not force anyone to act against their beliefs. It merely provides an option for those who, after careful consideration and consultation with their doctors and loved ones, decide that this is the right choice for them. Without this law, government effectively makes that choice for us.

Your signature on HB 140 will be an act of compassion and courage. It will acknowledge the suffering of terminally ill patients and provide a legal and safe means to alleviate that suffering. By signing this bill, you will be standing with your entire Democratic leadership and the majority of Delawareans from every demographic sector, who support this humane option.

Gov. Carney, please consider the profound impact this legislation will have on the lives of Delawareans facing terminal illness. Please sign HB 140, not only for those who may choose to use it but for the countless others who will find comfort in just knowing they have a measure of control and choice in living out their final days.

Judy Govatos

Wilmington

Diane Kraus

Millsboro

Reader reactions, pro or con, are welcomed at civiltalk@iniusa.org.

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