Hawaii Legislature Votes To Legalize Prescribing Lethal Medication for Terminally Ill Patients

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Posted: Apr 02, 2018 4:00 PM
Hawaii Legislature Votes To Legalize Prescribing Lethal Medication for Terminally Ill Patients

Hawaii’s state legislature has passed a bill that, if it becomes law, will make it legal to prescribe lethal medication for terminally ill individuals to self-administer in order to commit suicide.

The billrequires that the patients have been diagnosed with a “terminal disease,” defined within the legislation as “an incurable and irreversible disease that has been medically confirmed and will, within reasonable medical judgment, produce death within six months.”

As the Washington Examiner pointed out, Hawaii Governor David Ige (D) previously spoke about his intent to sign the bill if it passed—expressing his support for the legislation in a February press release, the governor stated:

“It’s time for this bill to become law. Mentally competent, terminally ill people who are in pain and who are suffering should be given the choice to end their lives with grace, dignity and peace. I would be proud and honored to sign this bill into law if our state legislators pass this measure this session.”

Assuming the governor approves the legislation, it will “take effect on January 1, 2019; provided that section 8 shall take effect upon approval,” the text of the bill indicates.

The Washington Examiner noted that, “Hawaii will join California, Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Washington state, and the District of Columbia in legalizing the practice. Montana doesn't have a specific law on the books, but the state Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that doctors could use a patient's request for fatal medication as a defense against criminal charges.”