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Rep. Hanabusa Supports Wishes of People with Terminal Illness

February 26, 2018, 4:58 PM HST
* Updated February 26, 5:00 PM
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Rep. Colleen Hanabusa official photo.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa submitted testimony in support of House Bill 2739, which establishes a regulatory process under which individual adult residents of the State of Hawai‘i with a medically confirmed terminal disease and less than six months to live may choose to obtain a prescription for medication to end their life.

The bill is scheduled to be heard by the House Committees on Health and Human Services and Judiciary Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Auditorium.

“This measure is the right thing to do and the time to act is now,” Hanabusa said. “There is clear public support for allowing patients suffering from terminal illness to decide how they want to spend the remainder of their life. That decision belongs to them and we should ensure that the regulations and procedures we approve respect their wishes and protect their rights.”

Hanabusa has supported similar death with dignity legislation over nearly two decades. In 2002, after a House bill advanced, Hanabusa voted to pull companion legislation out of a Senate committee where the chair refused to hear it. She voted in favor of the measure. It failed following a floor debate by the State Senate.

In 2004, Hanabusa introduced and supported S.B. 391, the first of three measures she would introduce to address the issue. In 2005, she proposed S.B. 1308. And, in 2007, she introduced and voted for S.B. 1995, which sought to make it legal for a physician to prescribe lethal medication to a patient diagnosed as terminally ill with six months or less to live. At the time, S.B. 1995 was the Legislature’s fifth attempt to reach consensus on the issue.

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