Hawaii bill would allow terminally ill to end their lives
Feb. 26, 2018
HONOLULU (AP) — A public hearing has been set for proposed legislation in Hawaii that would allow terminally ill adults to end their lives with a lethal dose of prescription medication.
The hearing will be held Tuesday before the House Health and Human Services and Judiciary committees, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
The bill called the Our Care, Our Choice Act says that terminally ill residents should have the right to determine their own treatment "to avoid an unnecessarily prolonged life of pain and suffering."
Legalizing medically assisted death has been a divisive issue in Hawaii. During the 2017 legislative session, a legalization bill passed the Senate but was later tabled by the House Health Committee.
The measure was strongly opposed by religious groups and advocates for the disabled.
Under the procedures set out in the current bill, patients with fewer than six months to live would have to submit two verbal requests a minimum of 15 days apart and one written request for a lethal prescription to the physician or advanced practice registered nurse who is providing their care.
The written request would need to be signed and dated by the patient and at least two witnesses who can attest the patient is of sound mind, is acting voluntarily and is not being coerced. A patient would have the right to rescind a request at any time and in any manner, regardless of their mental state.
"This issue is a matter of providing people with a choice, and everyone should be able to make this decision for themselves," Judiciary Chairman and Democrat Scott Nishimoto said. "For people who decide they want this option, there will be proper safeguards in place to protect everyone involved and prevent any possible abuse."
Democratic state Rep. John Mizuno said the issue requires the public to decide whether "a person of sound mind who is suffering from a terminal illness while in excruciating pain has the freedom and right to choice regarding his or her own body."
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com