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Bill to OK lethal doses to terminally ill set for House vote

March 1, 2018

HONOLULU (AP) — A measure that would allow terminally ill patients to request prescriptions for lethal doses of medication will soon be getting a vote by the Hawaii House of Representatives.

The House Health and Human Services Committee and the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday both voted in favor of the measure called the “Our Care, Our Choice Act.” HHS Committee Chairman Rep. John Mizuno said the proposal now has the strongest protections of any state.

Medically assisted death is legal in the District of Columbia and five states: California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

The House votes on it next week.

House Judiciary Chair Rep. Scott Nishimoto said the bill balances access with safeguards. He said the two biggest changes to the bill were removing advanced practice registered nurses as eligible to provide a lethal prescription, and requiring mandatory counseling after two physicians confirm a patient’s diagnosis, prognosis, competence.

“We wanted to make it extra safe so we put in mandatory counseling, and no other state has that,” Mizuno said. “You will hear people, even the advocates, say it’s an over-protection. However, at the end of the day, we didn’t want to take a chance.”

State Reps. Andria Tupola and Bob McDermott voted against the measure.

“I’ll be voting no, but I am so grateful that we made this bill better and stronger,” Tupola said.

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