Hawaii Bill for Assisted Suicide Fast-Tracked, Gets House Panel Hearing in Days

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 18, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hawaii Bill for Assisted Suicide Fast-Tracked, Gets House Panel Hearing in Days

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 18
, 2009

Honolulu, HI (LifeNews.com) — A Hawaii state House committee will hold a hearing within days on a bill that would make the state the fourth to legalize assisted suicide. The bill has been fast-tracked and will skip a health panel that has defeated the measure during past sessions of the state legislature.

Assisted suicide is legal in Oregon, and Washington voters and Montana courts made those states the second and third to allow the practice.

Although the Hawaii legislature has defeated past attempts to turn physicians into what opponents call "merchants of death," the moving of the bill to a different committee could make it more difficult for the groups fighting it.

In opposing the assisted suicide bill, pro-life groups have joined with Catholic organizations, disability rights advocates and doctors groups.

According to Scott Foster of Hawaii Death With Dignity, a hearing notice could come out within the next few days about HB 806 and HB 587 in the House Judiciary Committee.

Foster applauds the fast-tracking of the bill, saying "it bypasses the House Health Committee where our bill has been routinely killed in past years. This ‘fast track’ suggests that the bill may have a fighting chance."

Foster also says the 2008 ballot vote helps his cause: "The recent successful Washington State initiative shows that the idea has not gone away as some might wish."

The Hawaii Family Forum and the Hawaii Catholic Conference are concerned about the developments.

"This is an outrage," they said in a statement LifeNews.com obtained. "Just like they did in 2007, they are attempting to fast track assisted suicide and is not an appropriate course of action."

"Both bills are now only scheduled to be heard by the House Judiciary committee. This is not good news nor is it in the best interest of the people of Hawaii," the groups say.

They talk about the reasons to oppose an assisted suicide bill and say legalizing the practice would "forever transform the role of physician from one who preserves life to one who takes life. This will lead to a speedy deterioration of the physician-patient relationship, which will adversely affect the entire healthcare delivery system."

They also said it would "lead to a duty to die, with elderly patients feeling the subtle (and, perhaps, not so subtle) obligation to end their lives prematurely so as not to be a burden to their families and society."

ACTION: Contact the members of the Hawaii House Judiciary and urge opposition to the assisted suicide bills. Go to
https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/house/comm/commJUD.asp to find a list of members to contact.

Related web sites:
Hawaii House – https://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/site1/house/house.asp
Hawaii Right to Life – https://hrtl.org/defaulthome.htm
Hawaii Family Forum – https://www.hawaiifamilyforum.org

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