Governor Ige signs medical aid-in-dying bill into law

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Gov. David Ige signed the “Our Care, Our Choice Act” into law on Thursday, April 5, 2018.

Hawaii becomes the seventh state to allow terminally ill adults with only six months to live the option to make their own end-of-life decisions. 

Lawmakers have closely examined this issue a number of times over the past two decades.     

Supporters say the reason why, after so many years, the bill has had momentum is because of all the safeguards. 

“The time has come and I think it was clear we have the strongest bill in the nation,” said Scott Foster of Hawaii Death with Dignity Society.  

Some of those safeguards include: 

  • Confirmation by two health care providers of the patient’s diagnoses, prognosis, and medical competence;
  • Two verbal requests from the patient, separated by not less than 20 days, and one signed written request that is witnessed by two people, one of whom must be unrelated to the patient;
  • Counseling required for all qualified patients with a psychiatrist, psychologist or clinical social worker to determine that the patient is capable of making an informed decision and is not suffering from undertreatment or nontreatment of depression or other conditions that interfere with their ability make an end of life choice; and
  • The patient retains the right to rescind the request for life-ending medication.

Not everyone is happy about it.  Yesterday, a petition with over 18,000 signatures was presented to Igo to try to deter him from signing the bill.

“Our concern has been with the wider community,” said Eva Andrade of the Hawaii Family Forum.  “Whether it’s elderly kupuna or youth. Suicide is not what the people of Hawaii really want.”

House Bill 2739 goes into effect Jan. 1, 2019.

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