Physician-assisted suicide continues to grow around the world and in the United States. Thursday, Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed the “Our Care, Our Choice Act” (HB 2739), that establishes a state-sanctioned system for physician-assisted suicide.
Hawaii is now the seventh U.S. jurisdiction to make physician-assisted suicide legal. The other six are Oregon, Vermont, Washington, California, Colorado, and the District of Columbia. It’s also an option in Montana via court order. Just this week, Rhode Island’s House Committee on Health, Education, and Welfare considered H 7297, which would also make physician-assisted suicide legal.
Hawaii’s law, which will take effect next year, includes several hoops those requesting doctor-induced suicide must jump. According to Reuters, “The measure would allow doctors to prescribe life-ending medication at the request of patients, so long as two doctors deem the patient mentally competent and determine that the individual has no longer than six months to live.”
There must be written testimony from two witnesses who can verify the patient not only wants to die but can take the lethal drugs on his or her own. Similar legislation came up for a vote in Hawaii in 2002 but did not pass. “We have gotten to a point in our community that it does make sense to give the patient a choice to request the medication, obtain it and take it, or ultimately change their mind if they so choose to,” Ige said.
Every state where self-murder is legal differs a bit in how it’s regulated. In Colorado, several conditions must be met: The person requesting medical suicide must be terminally ill, with a prognosis of six months or less to live. In California and the District of Columbia, patients must make several requests within a certain time frame, both orally and in written form.
Read more at The Federalist.