measure back before
the Legislature

By B.J. Reyes
Associated Press

A measure that would allow terminally ill, competent adults to obtain a lethal dose of medication for the purpose of killing themselves is being revisited by lawmakers this session.

Legislature 2003

Legislature Directory

Legislature Bills & Hawaii Revised Statutes

The so-called death-with-dignity measure was part of the Hawaii Women's Coalition's legislative package unveiled yesterday.

Sen. Colleen Hanabusa, who supported similar legislation that narrowly failed last year, introduced the bill in the Senate. No companion bill has been introduced in the House.

"I'm not sure what the chances of the bill are. We'll have to wait and see," said Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua). "We'll see what the support is there (in committee hearings), and then we'll have a better indication."

Last year, Hawaii came within two votes in the Senate of joining Oregon as the only states with a physician-assisted suicide law.

The House-passed administration bill had the strong support of then-Gov. Ben Cayetano, who listed its failure as one of his biggest disappointments as governor.

Gov. Linda Lingle has said she opposes such legislation.

The Senate bill would prohibit mercy killings, lethal injections and active euthanasia and would require patients to obtain informed consent.

It also would allow an alternate doctor to administer the drugs if a patient's primary physician declined to prescribe the requisite lethal dose. A patient also would have to be monitored at the time of taking the lethal dose.

"It's still an issue," Hanabusa said. "There are people out there that would like to have this issue resolved."

Earlier this month, before the opening of the 2003 session, a coalition of groups opposed to legalizing physician-assisted suicide launched a media campaign as a pre-emptive strike against another death-with-dignity bill.

The death-with-dignity bill was one of eight included in the legislative package presented by the Hawaii Women's Coalition, an organization of more than 200 private and professional groups, governmental agencies and others interested in legislative issues that affect the lives of women in Hawaii.

E-mail to City Desk


Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
© 2003 Honolulu Star-Bulletin --