Monday, October 24, 2011

Pro-Assisted Suicide Advocates Falsely Advertise Suicide as Legal in Hawaii

National Right to Life News Today
October 20, 2011

By Jennifer Popik, JD, Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics

Earlier this month, Hawaii Death With Dignity, a group which promotes doctor-prescribed death, held a meeting at their state capital announcing Hawaii was the fourth state to legalize assisted suicide. This is flat-out incorrect on several grounds.

First, assisted suicide has been specifically legalized in only two states– Oregon and Washington. In addition, due to a 2010 court decision in Montana, a physician there who aided in a suicide would, at a criminal or civil trial, be allowed to try to claim that the victim consented.

Second, despite well over one hundred legislative efforts, pro-assisted suicide forces have yet to be successful in any state legislature. They have come close to victory many times, even in Hawaii, but have thus far only been successful using two ballot initiative campaigns. So why would Hawaii Death With Dignity announce the state had suddenly legalized doctor prescribed death?

Surely the group was not referring to its huge loss in 2011. A Hawaii legislative panel unanimously voted down a bill that would have legalized physician-assisted following 4½ hours of testimony overwhelmingly against the proposal – mainly from disability rights advocates. Further, if physician assisted suicide is “already legal” in Hawaii, why have suicide law proponents been trying to pass this kind of legislation in the state for well over a decade? There was no legislative victory; there was no ballot initiative. What they relied on was an over 100-year-old arcane statute dealing with pain relief options. Read more

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