The Hawaii House voted to approve a bill legalizing physician-assisted suicide in the state Wednesday, moving it one step closer to a short list of states that allows doctors to legally help patients kill themselves.
Hawaii’s House Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve HB 2739 — also known as the “Death With Dignity” Act — which allows terminally ill patients older than 18 to request a fatal dosage of medication.
The act determines a person as terminally ill if they are not expected to live more than six months. The bill posits that patients who want to kill themselves via medication have to make an oral request for the drug, a written request, and a second oral request to confirm that they have not changed their mind about the decision to kill themselves.
“The way this bill was hustled through sight unseen is an example of the dysfunction of the legislature,” Republican Rep. Andria Tupola wrote in response to the vote. “We were asked to vote without our members having seen a written draft of the revised bill. I literally had nothing in front of me on which to vote,” she continued, pointing to the insufficient and lackluster process by which the Hawaii lawmakers voted on the measure.
Only she and one other committee member voted against the bill.
“America’s most vulnerable citizens, including the elderly, the terminally ill, the disabled, and the depressed, are worthy of life and equal protection under the law, which is why AUL will continue to work against this bill as it moves to the full House,” Americans United For Life (AUL) president Catherine Glenn Foster told The Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday.
Massachusetts is moving to legalize physician-assisted suicide with House Bill 1194, and may soon see assisted suicide become legal in the state. (RELATED: Massachusetts Might Legalize Assisted Suicide, And It Could Turn America Into The Netherlands)
California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington also permit physician assisted suicide. Washington, D.C., adopted the Death with Dignity Act in July 2017.
Assisted suicide in the Netherlands is legal for anyone who suffers from physical or mental illness and has an advanced directive or has received parental consent if younger than 16. Minors can request euthanasia as young as 12. The law states that parents must be involved in the decision-making processes of 16- and 17-year-olds people, but it does not require parental consent. Those who desire assisted suicide must express an earnest conviction that they see euthanasia as their only escape and obtain a doctor’s signature.
HB 2739 would make Hawaii the sixth state, along with the District of Columbia, to endorse assisted suicide.
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