Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Bill Allowing Terminally Ill to Obtain Prescription to Die

HONOLULU, Hawaii — Lawmakers in Hawaii have passed a controversial bill that would allow the terminally ill to obtain a prescription from their doctor to end their lives.

H.B. 2739, also known as the “Our Care, Our Choice” bill, passed the Senate on Thursday 23-2 after also clearing the House earlier this month 39-12. Gov. David Ige is expected to sign the legislation into law when it reaches his desk.

One of the only two lawmakers to vote against the measure in the Senate was Sen. Breene Harimoto, D-Pearl City, who had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer in 2015, but survived. He was diagnosed with lung cancer just last week.

“My faith in God, prayers and a sense of hope got me through this,” Harimoto declared. “I feel so strongly that we must always have hope and never give up.”

“I was not supposed to be here today,” he said, and thanked God that he was able to be present to vote no.

As previously reported, Harimoto also spoke out last year when a similar bill was being considered, sharing that it would have been too easy to give up and die in the face of the difficult diagnosis, but death was not the answer. He needed hope and help. Harimoto said aid in dying bills have a “misplaced sense of compassion.”

“Thinking back on this experience, I wonder what anyone who is given six months or less to live would do with those death pills,” he stated. “It would be too easy and tempting in a moment of weakness and despair to reach for the pills to end it all. I’m glad I didn’t have those pills when I was suffering so much or I wouldn’t be here today.”

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However, Sen. Russell Ruderman, D-Keaau, argued on Thursday that “[r]eligions rightfully carry great respect in our society but must not dictate our laws. If you don’t believe in it, don’t do it.”

“There is separation of Church and State mandated by our constitution. One’s religious views are not relevant to our legislative process,” he also asserted earlier this month.

As previously reported, H.B. 2739 allows for adult terminally ill patients ages 18 and up who have an estimated six months or less to live to request a prescription for a dosage of medication that will end their life.

The patient must make the request orally twice, within a period of no less than 20 days apart, and must also sign a written form that is witnessed by two people. A counselor must additionally attest that the patient is not suffering from depression or other factors that might influence their desire to die.

“I have been fully informed of my diagnosis, prognosis, the nature of medication to be prescribed and potential associated risks, the expected result, the possibility that I may choose not to obtain or not to use the medication, and the feasible alternatives or additional treatments, including comfort care, hospice care, and pain control,” the proposed request form would read.

The form also gives the patient the option not to inform their family of the decision. They may likewise rescind the request should they change their mind about ending their life.

Read the bill in full here.

Some of those who opposed the legislation noted that it would require death certificates to state that the cause of death was the person’s disease, not the ingestion of lethal medication.

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  • Amos Moses – He>i

    the culture of death ……

  • james blue

    I pray you never have to face a painful and debilitating terminal illness, but if you do I wish the choice as to how to deal with it to be yours, whatever that choice may be.

    We have the right to decide our own destiny.

  • Eric L

    We love you so much, we’re going to help KILL you.

    Whenever a progressive calls himself “compassionate,” laugh in his face real hard.

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      A sad generation we have become. A generation who will love you to DEATH, with the help of a Doctor who is willing to kill for money. Doctors who reject the oath not to harm.

  • Nedd Kareiva

    The Libertarian part of me supports such legislation. The Christian part of me says Hades NO! The problem lies with all the so-called safeguards claimed to be in such legislation that end up being abused and the coaxing of the would be recipient to hasten their demise. The risk of abuse and fraud are too much to support this bill, not to mention it’s all Dodocrats always supporting such legislation. Good legislation is when it is bipartisan. Assisted suicide virtually never is one. Sad to see the way this is going.

    • james blue

      What “coaxing” are you talking about?

  • Robin Egg

    Doctors oaths mean nothing to them anymore…..do no harm…….And this one you can’t blame on “religion” folks. Murder is murder in any language. If you choose to commit suicide and a so called doctor gives you the tool to off yourself, he/she has facilitated a murder.

    • ♥LadyInChrist♥InGodITrust♥

      This is the generation of death. There is a lack of respect for Human life these days. We have so called Doctors who are willing to take money to kill the unborn, depressed, mentally ill, terminally ill, handicapped/disabled, and elderly. Doctors were never meant to kill. That is why they took an oath not to harm. The Bible warned us there would come a time when love will grow cold. This is a loveless and cold generation.
      May God forgive us…..

  • Bradley Williams

    Pardon me just saying the individual is in control does not make it so. This bill was full of political double speak that deceives the public. It should be held to the same business standards as false advertising that we all abide by.
    Hawaii 2018 H.B.NO. 2739 perpetuates the lie of self administration with no witness to the administration to honor our choice.
    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.
    Governor Reject this hollow state sanctioned suicide and euthanasia bill. Political double speak should be held accountable to the same standards as false advertising which we all live by.
    Bradley Williams
    President MTaas org
    PS: the page and line numbers are before amendments.

  • Susan Perelka

    God has allowed us free will, He has set before us life or death, blessings or cursings. People do have the right to choose, but make sure you choose wisely, your soul will live on forever in one of two places, with God in paradise or separated from Him forever in hell. The freedom to choose does not give you a free pass on the consequences of your decision. EVERY decision we make has an outcome. God is offering a free gift to any who will except it. Forgiveness through Jesus Christ, a new life, eternity with our Creator Who is good, and loving, and compassionate, and wonderful. No more tears, no more sorrow, no more sickness forever, that is the hope to come. Why would anyone reject such an amazing offer. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Him. Blessings and life He offers to any who are willing to come and accept Who He is and what He has done out of love for us. What could possibly be more important than that? Selah- pause and think about that.

  • ppp777

    It seems satan has been given full control now .

  • Blue

    Medical Assistance in Dying is not a culture of death. This is for a person who values life, who wants to live, but who will in fact die soon, and who is in extreme pain.

    Giving that person some control over his/her last days is compassionate. Forcing a person to spend their last weeks doped to the eyeballs with morphine that isn’t working and screaming in pain is the opposite of valuing life.

    I hope nobody has to endure this, or watch a loved one. But odds are against it. If this does happen, I hope you or your loved one is allowed to make their own choice.