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Hawai‘i Becomes 7th Jurisdiction to Enact Death With Dignity Law

April 5, 2018, 8:51 AM HST (Updated April 5, 2018, 8:52 AM)
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Death with Dignity National Center on Thursday, April 5, 2018, applauded Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige for signing the Our Care, Our Choice Act into law. Modeled on the groundbreaking Oregon Death with Dignity Act, the law allows qualified terminally ill adult residents of Hawai‘i who are mentally competent and within six months of death to legally obtain a prescription medication to end their life in a humane and dignified manner. Hawai‘i is the seventh U.S. jurisdiction to enact an assisted dying statute.

Death with Dignity National Center Executive Director Peg Sandeen said, “The time was right for Hawai‘i to adopt this law. For nearly two decades, Death with Dignity National Center has worked with citizens, legislators, and leaders in Hawaii to bring the right to die with dignity to the people of Hawai‘i. Today marks a new beginning in Hawai‘i’s treatment of the terminally ill.”

Death with Dignity marks the new law as a monumental step forward for all Americans who want the freedom to make their own end-of-life decisions. Hawa‘ii residents will now enjoy the same autonomy, freedom and peace of mind at the end of their lives as the residents of Oregon, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.

Death with Dignity National Center is grateful to the many citizens of Hawai‘i who advocated for this law for the courage to speak out and begin this conversation and to the members of the Legislature who recognized that the will of voters could no longer be ignored.

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Sandeen added, “The laws in other states, particularly Oregon, where it has been in effect for more than 20 years, have proven flawless in their implementation, protecting the rights of patients, family members, and health care professionals as they work through this process. The safeguards Hawai‘i state legislators have enacted into this law will ensure that patients are in control of this process and make their own decisions at every step of the way—as is their right.”

The Our Care, Our Choice Act will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

Death with Dignity National Center is a 501(c)3, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to provide Death with Dignity as an option for dying individuals and to stimulate nationwide improvements in end-of-life care. The organization authored, passed, and defended the Oregon Death with Dignity Act (1994/1997/2006), was instrumental in passing the Washington (2008), Vermont (2013), California (2016), and District of Columbia (2017) laws, and spearheaded a number of other state legislative campaigns, including Hawaii. For more information, visit DeathwithDignity.org.

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