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Governor Ige urges lawmakers to pass Death with Dignity bill after hundreds testify


Office of Governor David Ige

Governor Ige supports Death with Dignity bill, urges House lawmakers to pass it

HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige is urging the House Committee on Health and Human Services and the House Judiciary Committee to approve HB 2739, otherwise known as the Death with Dignity Bill.

“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,” said Gov. Ige.

The bill establishes a regulatory process under which mentally competent adults with medically confirmed terminal illnesses with less than six months to live, may choose to obtain a prescription for medication to end the patient’s life. The measure also makes it a criminal offense to tamper with a patient’s request for a prescription or to coerce a patient to request a prescription.

Administrative Director Ford Fuchigami testified before the House committees on behalf of the governor. “The Governor’s Office believes this bill is important to allow terminally ill patients to decide for themselves when and how their lives should end. We believe HB 2739 is well drafted in a context of a robust continuum of palliative and hospice care, and provides sufficient safe-guards for both patients and doctors to minimize abuse,” Fuchigami said.

At least 30 states have either enacted or considered enacting similar Death with Dignity bills.

Hawaii House of Representatives

Honolulu, Hawaiʻi – More than 100 people testified at the State Capitol today and more than 600 submitted written testimony to the House Health & Human Services Committee and Judiciary Committee on House Bill 2739 titled “Our Care, Our Choice.”

After five hours of listening to testimony and answering questions from committee members, the committees will reconvene at noon on Wednesday, February 28 in room 329 to make a decision on passing the bill.

“A bill of this magnitude needs to be vetted with extreme caution to ensure there are adequate safeguards and protections in place,” said Rep. John M. Mizuno, Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee. “I felt that going over the testimony a few more times with the Chair of the Judiciary Committee along with Majority Leader and working with our legal staff as well as the administration, the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Health would be prudent. By tomorrow noon we will know if we have a bill or not.”

The bill, which contains strong safeguards to protect a dying patient and their families, establishes a regulatory process under which an adult resident of the State with a medically confirmed terminal disease may choose to obtain a prescription for medication to end their life. The bill also imposes criminal sanctions for tampering with a patient’s request for a prescription or coercing a patient to request a prescription.

At least 30 states have either enacted or considered enacting similar aid in dying bills.

“Our Care, Our Choice” refers to the right of people to make health choices about their body for themselves, said Rep Mizuno (Kalihi Valley, Kamehameha Heights, lower Kalihi).

Additional safeguards in the bill 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 15 days, and one signed written request that is witnessed by two people, one of whom must be unrelated to the patient; and
  • An additional waiting period between the written request and the writing of the prescription.

One Response to “Governor Ige urges lawmakers to pass Death with Dignity bill after hundreds testify”

  1. Bradley Williams says:

    Hawaii 2018 H.B.NO. 2739
    This bill leads and uses double speak through out. Countering the first statement it should say that over 20 states have rejected this in 2017-18.
    Allowing an heir to be one of the witnesses in the sign up process eviscerates flaunted safeguards.
    “These rigorous safeguards…” are unenforceable.
    “The lie of Self administered” is mentioned 11 times is used to deflect normal scrutiny while the provision to have an ordinary witness to the administration is missing.
    Specifically active euthanasia is allowed (page 30 line 16 and page 33 line 8&9) which makes this the most unsafe and subject to abuse of all the states, counter to the author’s claim.
    Again like previous offerings this process can start and end in death in 16 days, all before the rest of the family learns. Immunity for predatory corporations, heirs, strangers, guardians, care givers…. is immediate and records are prohibited to be used in investigations.
    Reject this hollow state sanctioned suicide and euthanasia bill.
    Bradley Williams
    President MTaas org


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