Thursday, March 1, 2018

Legislators Did Not Know the Text of What They Were Voting On

Scott Nishimoto
"'Pass it then read it,'
 a member of the public
 shouted out sarcastically.'

The committees also added another hurdle before a patient could receive the prescription. Aside from needing two medical providers confirming the terminal diagnoses, the six-months-or-less-to-live prognosis and medical competence, the patient must also undergo counseling by a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist, but could do so by phone.

Hawaii would be the first state to require counseling, Mizuno said. He added that the tele-health provision would help make it easier for residents in Hawaii to comply with the counseling requirement, recognizing that some live in rural areas far from doctors.

The committees also lengthened the time the patient must wait between making two verbal requests for medically assisted death. Instead of 14 days, the amended version now calls for 20 days. One signed written request, witnessed by two people (one unrelated to the patient), is also required.

McDermott, one of the two committee members to vote against the bill, was not provided a copy of the amendments prior to the hearing.

"I don't know what we're voting on," he said as Nishimoto called for the vote.

Nishimoto said that given the time constraints, working on changes to the bill up until 15 minutes before the hearing started, he did not have an opportunity to give McDermott a copy.

"Pass it then read it," a member of the public shouted out sarcastically.

Tehotu said after the hearing that she found it "heartbreaking" that McDermott had to vote on something without even seeing a draft.

Belatti read quickly through the amendments at the beginning of the hearing but copies were not distributed. Civil Beat has requested a copy.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

HB 2218 & HB 2736 (Evans & Ruderman) Purported Protections Negated by Other Bill Provisions; Not Enforceable.

HB 2218 &  HB 2736, seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Hawaii, contain purported patient protections such as a the participation of a second doctor and waiting periods.[1] The bills, however, also hold doctors that the attending provider is merely to ensure that all “appropriate” steps are carried out.[4] In addition, the provider is held to an “accordance” standard. The bill states:
The attending provider shall: . . .
(11) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this chapter . . . .  (Emphasis added).[5]
The bill does not define “accordance.”[6] Dictionary definitions include “in the spirit of,” meaning “in thought or intention.”[7] With these definitions, the attending provider’s mere thought or intention to comply is good enough. The purported safeguards are unenforceable.


[1]  HB 2739, § 1, p.2, lines 11-12.
[2]  Id , p.3, lines 14-16.
[3]  The bill§ 4,  p. 9, line 13 to p. 11, states:
(a) The attending provider shall: . . . 
(4) Refer the patient to a consulting provider for medical confirmation of the diagnosis, and for a determination that the patient is capable and acting voluntarily; . . . [and]
(8) Inform the patient that a qualified patient may rescind the request at any time and in any manner, and offer the qualified patient an opportunity to rescind at the time of the qualified patient's second oral request made pursuant to section - 9 . . . . (Emphasis added).
[4]  The bill, § 4, states::
(a) The attending provider shall: . . .  
(11) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this chapter . . . . 
[5]  Id., § 4
[6]  See the bill in its entirety.
[7]  See definitions of "accordance" and "in the spirit of," here and here. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Update: Touted Safeguards Are Neutralized; Unenforceable

Margaret Dore, Esq.
By Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA

HB 2739 seeks to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined. The bill also promotes itself as having “robust" safeguards.[1] Indeed, the bill goes so far as to say that its "rigorous safeguards would be the strongest of any state in the nation and will thoroughly protect patients and their loved ones from any potential abuse."[2]

The purported safeguards are enumerated and include that the attending provider “shall” refer the patient to a consulting provider, and that the attending provider “shall” offer the patient an opportunity to rescind the lethal dose request.[3]

The bill, however, also says that the attending provider is merely to ensure that all “appropriate” steps are carried out, and that the provider is held to an “accordance” standard. The bill, 
§ 4, states:

The attending provider shall: . . .
(11) Ensure that all appropriate steps are carried out in accordance with this chapter . . . .  (Emphasis added).[4]
The bill does not define "appropriate" or “accordance.”[5] Dictionary definitions of appropriate include "suitable or fitting."[6] Dictionary definitions of accordance include “in the spirit of,” meaning “in thought or intention.”[7] 

With these definitions, the attending provider’s mere view of what is "suitable or fitting" is enough for safeguard compliance. The provider's mere "thought or intention" is similarly sufficient. The touted safeguards are thus neutralized to whatever an attending provider happens to feel is appropriate and/or had a thought or intention to do. They are unenforceable.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Thank You Representative Oshiro!

Representative Marcus Oshiro (in green)
This is a belated thank you to Representative Marcus Oshiro, one of the many people instrumental to the defeat of SB 1129, which had sought to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Hawaii.

Representative Oshiro took the lead to make stopping the bill one of his main goals for the legislative session. From my viewpoint, he was a major reason we won in what was also a great team effort. Choice is an Illusion got him a plaque in appreciation.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Assisted Suicide Dealt Another Blow In Hawaii

Attorney General
Douglass S. Chin

ARTICLE SUMMARY- They failed at the legislature this year, and now a court dismissed a lawsuit, but advocates have not given up.

(BIVN) – An Oahu circuit judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit asking the court to prevent existing Hawaii criminal laws from being applied to medical aid in dying [assisted suicide] practices.

In its decision, the court relied upon state legal precedent that prohibited it from issuing such relief, the state attorney general said in a media release. The attorney general opposed the suit, filing the successful motion to dismiss.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Reject SB 1129 S.D. 2 Memorandum

By Margaret Dore, Esq.

To view a print version, click here and here.

To view the entire memo in html, click here.


I am an attorney in Washington State where assisted suicide is legal.[1] Our law is based on a similar law in Oregon. Both laws are similar to the proposed act in SB 1129 SD 2.

The proposed act seeks to legalize physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia as those terms are traditionally defined. The act calls these practices “aid in dying.” This is misleading. “Eligible” persons may have years or decades to live. The act is also sold as a promotion of patient choice and control, which is not true. The act is stacked against the patient and a recipe for elder abuse. I urge you to vote “No” on SB 1129 SD2.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We Won! (7-0)

Della Au Belatti,
Chair House Health
Today, in a drastic turnaround from a lopsided vote in the Hawaii Senate to pass a bill seeking to legalize assisted suicide and euthanasia in Hawaii, the Hawaii House Health Committee unanimously (7-0) recommended that the bill be delayed.

The Committee members agreed that SB 1129 SD 2 has too many problems to go forward at this time. What this means is that the bill is most probably dead for the year.

A great victory due to a team effort.

Special thanks to the Committee members who made it a point to read the bill. Special thanks to the people of Hawaii showing up to outnumber the bill's proponents at least 4 to 1. And special thanks to the people who organized them, you know who you are..

To read a bullet point summary of problems with the bill and why the other side's choice claim is a big fat fib, please click here. To read a legal analysis submitted by Choice is an Illusion, please cliick here.

Thank you again to everyone who participated to make this happen.

You did it!

Margaret Dore, Esq., MBA
Choice is an Illusion, President