Hawaii Legislature Won’t Debate Assisted Suicide Bill, Committee Chair Says

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 20, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Hawaii Legislature Won’t Debate Assisted Suicide Bill, Committee Chair Says

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
February 20
, 2009

Honolulu, HI (LifeNews.com) — A bill that could have made Hawaii the next state to legalize assisted suicide will not get a hearing in the state legislature. That’s because Jon Riki Karamatsu, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee says he will not hold a hearing on the bill because there is not enough support for it.

Karamatsu says he is open to holding a hearing on the bill in the future but that the euthanasia proponents who support the bill don’t have enough backing.

Wesley J. Smith, a noted bioethics attorney and author based in California, says the decision is good news and makes the effect of Washington become the second state to legalize the practice less intense.

"The passage of assisted suicide in Washington is not yet causing a major revamping of the political field. Hawaii’s assisted suicide legislation looks like it isn’t going to make it this year" he said.

"The apparent lack of energy by advocates is a surprise. Perhaps, they had counted the votes and realized it wasn’t in the cards. In any event, Rep. Karamatsu deserves congratulations and thanks," Smith added.

That the bill was pulled from consideration is a bit of a surprise because Scott Foster of Hawaii Death With Dignity has been pushing for the bill and said he expected a hearing within days on HB 806 and HB 587.

Foster had applauded the fast-tracking of the bills saying they would have the House Health Committee where they have routinely been killed.

The Hawaii Family Forum and the Hawaii Catholic Conference were 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 previously said.

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

The Hawaii legislature has defeated past attempts to turn physicians into what opponents call "merchants of death."

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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