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Hawaii legalizes assisted suicide

State Sen. Breene Harimoto (standing), who is battling cancer, speaks on the floor of the Hawaii Senate in opposition to an assisted suicide bill. Associated Press/Photo by Audrey McAvoy

Hawaii legalizes assisted suicide

Hawaii lawmakers voted overwhelmingly Thursday to legalize assisted suicide, making it the sixth state in the nation to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to terminally ill patients. As they have in other states, advocates insisted the measure would give patients freedom to choose an end to their suffering. But opponents note it makes the elderly and disabled vulnerable to pressure to end their lives early for reasons other than extreme suffering. Sen. Breene Harimoto, one of only two senators to vote against the bill, said he could never approve something that would create “an environment of hopelessness” for those already struggling with agonizing circumstances. “My faith in God, prayers, and sense of hope got me through this,” Breene said of his own battle with cancer. “Because of this personal experience, I feel so strongly that we must always have hope and never give up.” The bill requires two healthcare providers to confirm a patient’s condition and attest that they are making the death request voluntarily. A counselor must confirm the decision is not based on untreated depression, and the patient must sign a written request witnessed by at least one person who is not a relative. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has said he will sign the measure into law.

Leigh Jones

Leigh is features editor for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate who spent six years as a newspaper reporter in Texas before joining WORLD News Group. Leigh also co-wrote Infinite Monster: Courage, Hope, and Resurrection in the Face of One of America's Largest Hurricanes. She resides with her husband and daughter in Houston, Texas.


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