Compassion & Choices Hawai‘i applauded the state House of Representatives for its bipartisan 39 to 12 vote to pass legislation after a third and final reading today that would authorize medical aid in dying as an option for terminally ill adults in Hawai‘i. The bill, whose title is the “Our Care, Our Choice Act” (HB 2739), now crosses over to the Senate for its consideration.
If enacted, the Our Care, Our Choice Act would allow Hawai‘i to join seven other jurisdictions in authorizing terminally ill adults of sound mind to request and receive a prescription they may self-administer to bring about a peaceful death. Oregon, where medical aid in dying has been authorized for two decades, has been joined by Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, and most recently, the District of Columbia.
“Hawai‘i residents overwhelmingly support expanding end-of-life care options. While most terminally ill will never opt for medical aid in dying, they want the option because it provides comfort to those in the end stages of a terminal disease knowing that if their suffering becomes unbearable they can use this option to die peacefully in their sleep,” said Aubrey Hawk, C&C Hawai‘i communications officer. “By advancing the Our Care, Our Choice Act, the House has shown a commitment to improving end-of-life care for all kama‘aina because these laws spur people to discuss all their end-of-life care options, including hospice and palliative care, and to utilize them more effectively.”
An Anthology Research Group survey among likely voters conducted in November 2016 showed broad and deep support for medical aid in dying. Eighty percent of Hawai‘i residents believe medical aid in dying should be an authorized option for terminally ill, mentally capable adults who have less than six months to live. After more than 20 years of local grassroots effort, the issue in recent years has been gaining a groundswell of support among local medical and interfaith groups.