Doctors won’t help patients kill themselves, so state enlists nurses

By Around the Web

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

By Bridget Sielicki
Live Action News

Hawaii Governor Josh Green signed legislation on June 1 that will make it even easier to obtain assisted suicide in the state.

With the passage of House Bill 650, advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) are now qualified to evaluate whether or not a patient is eligible for assisted suicide and to prescribe the necessary drugs. The law also reduces the waiting period required between the patient’s request to die and the reception of the lethal prescription from 20 days to just five days. Per the new legislation, the waiting period is to be waived if it is believed that the patient would die in the interim, to a minimum of 48 hours.

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Sen. Joy San Buenaventura said that the new law was necessary because there aren’t enough doctors willing to help kill their patients. “There aren’t many physicians that would help the patient to make that choice,” San Buenaventura said. “So, by increasing the ability of a patient to have an APRN prescribing is helpful. We also shortened the waiting time, because doctors, understandably, are not going to give the prescription drugs unless they know death is imminent. And patients need to get the prescription earlier to relieve them from the suffering, so we reduced the waiting time from 20 days to five days.”

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Compassion & Choices Hawaii, which advocated heavily for the bill, praised Green’s passage but said that even the new concessions aren’t enough. “It is a pretty big leap, although it doesn’t put us out in front,” said Aubrey Hawk, advocate for Compassion & Choices Hawaii. “New Mexico’s law is just a couple of years old, and they had APRNs prescribing (medical aid-in-dying) in their first law. And I believe Washington has also changed their law to allow APRNs to prescribe.”

In a blog post earlier this year, Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition put it succinctly when he noted that the loosening of Hawaii’s previous assisted suicide regulations is exactly what happens once you allow state-sanctioned death.

“There is only one line in the sand. It is either legal to kill by assisted suicide or not,” he wrote. “Once assisted suicide is legal we are only debating the reasons to kill and who can do the killing.”

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Live Action News.]

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