Thursday, February 22, 2024

Hawai'i expanded their assisted suicide law in 2023. Hawai'i assisted suicide deaths are increasing.

Alex Schadenberg
Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Hawai'i assisted suicide deaths have continually increased since legalization. The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition expects greater increases in 2023
based on the fact that Hawai'i expanded their assisted suicide law in 2023 by passing House Bill 650.

According to the Hawai'i assisted suicide data, there were 55 assisted suicide deaths in 2022, which was up from 49 in 2021. We don't have the 2023 Hawai'i assisted suicide data yet.

For instance, California's assisted suicide deaths increased by 63% in 2022, after they expanded their assisted suicide law (Article).

As stated in an article that I published last year, (HB 650) expanded the Hawai'i assisted suicide law by reducing the waiting period, allowing non-physicians to approve and prescribe assisted suicide and expanding who can counsel someone for assisted suicide. HB 650 was signed into law on June 2, 2023.

HB 650 reduced the assisted suicide waiting period from 20 days to 5 days and it allowed the waiting period to be reduced to 48 hours when a person was deemed to be "near to death."

HB 650 also allowed non-physicians to approve and prescribe assisted suicide drugs and it expanded who was able to counsel a person who is considering assisted suicide. The expansion of assisted suicide providers was deemed necessary because very few physicians were willing to participate in assisted suicide.

Hawai'i, like most states that have legalized assisted suicide, passed their original assisted suicide law with "safeguards" that were designed to persuade legislators to vote for the bill.

Hawai'i debated and defeated assisted suicide bills almost every year until 2018, when the sponsor of the assisted suicide bill, included more "safeguards" than the Oregon law resulting in the bill passing.

The very first Hawai'i assisted suicide report (2019) included a push to remove "safeguards" in the law. I stated in my commentary that:

Even though assisted suicide was legal for less than one year, the assisted suicide lobby is promoting two options for expanding the assisted suicide law.

Hawai'i is the best example of how the assisted suicide lobby will support a "tight" bill to legalize assisted suicide and soon after introduce a bill to eliminate "restrictions."

More information on this topic:

  • The assisted suicide lobby wants to legalize assisted suicide in your state and expand it later (Link).

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