Good news. Efforts to expand assisted suicide in Hawaii fail

By Dave Andrusko

As opponents of assisted suicide warned repeatedly, any and all “safeguards” put in to win passage will sooner or later be seen as “barriers.”

For example, limitations of who can “assist” and how much of a mandatory waiting period before someone can be “assisted.”

Hawaii legalized assisted suicide in 2018. Proponents have chafed ever since. 

This week “Lawmakers Fail To Expand Access To Assisted Suicide In Hawaii.” Reporter  Joel Lau explained that “A bill that sought to expand access to medically assisted death in Hawaii failed to advance to a final vote after lawmakers stumbled over the role of advance-practice registered nurses and physician assistants.”

Currently before a physician can write a prescription for “life ending medicine,” a “qualified patient” must make two oral requests 20-days apart. “HB 1823 would have lowered the mandatory waiting period to 15 days,” Lau writes.

HB 1823 would also have expanded authority to prescribe the life-ending drug “to qualified advance-practice  nurses and physician assistants.” Advocates were concerned, Lau wrote, “that dying patients in underserved communities faced significant obstacles in finding a doctor willing to assist.”

Negotiators, thankfully, were unable to bridge the gap. Conference committee participants from the House “were uncomfortable with allowing APRNs to prescribe the lethal drug.” Senate health chair Jarrett Keohokalole “refused to budge,” Lau wrote,” arguing instead that there was more risk in granting practicing authority to physician assistants.”

Rep. Troy Hashimoto said he will reintroduce the measure next legislative session “but was unable to guarantee a better outcome as statewide elections this fall may drastically alter the composition of essential committees.”