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Hawaii Euthanasia Laws

Maybe you’ve heard or seen a story in the news concerning the “right to die.” Or maybe the story has hit closer to home for you and you’ve had a loved one with a debilitating, painful, and terminal illness.

“Euthanasia” (also referred to as “physician-assisted suicide”) refers to taking the life or allowing the death of a hopelessly sick or injured person. And under current law, intentionally ending the life of another person, no matter how sick or in pain, is illegal in most states. This is a quick introduction to euthanasia laws in Hawaii.

Euthanasia Laws

State euthanasia laws are nearly uniform in their prohibiting deliberate mercy killings, although the issue remains hotly contested in legal, political, and social debates across the country. Euthanasia in not condoned, authorized, or approved by Hawaii law, but doctors are permitted to withhold or withdraw "life-sustaining" procedures.

Euthanasia Statutes in Hawaii

Hawaii’s euthanasia statutes are listed below.

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes 327E-1, et seq.: Uniform Health-Care Decision Act

Euthanasia Condoned in Statutes?

Mercy killing or euthanasia not condoned, authorized, or approved by Hawaii law.

Effect of Withholding of Life-Sustaining Procedures

Death resulting from withholding or withdrawal of life sustaining procedures does not constitute suicide. Execution of declaration does not constitute attempted suicide

Euthanasia Law History

There's no right to physician-assisted suicide under federal law or the Constitution. In 1997 the United States Supreme Court ruled that a state has an interest in preserving life and preventing intentional killing that outweighs a citizen’s liberty interest in choosing when, where, and how die. While states are therefore permitted to ban euthanasia, many states have recognized a distinction between a physician proactively ending a patient's life (illegal in nearly every state) and passively refusing or removing life-saving medical treatment (legal in many states).

Even in states that have gone farther and enacted laws protecting a patient's right to die, doctors are still not allowed to administer lethal doses of drugs to patients. Doctors may only provide certain drugs at their patients’ request, and the patients must administer the doses themselves.

Related Resources for Hawaii Euthanasia Laws

Euthanasia laws and the right to die are complex and complicated issues, both emotionally and legally. You can consult with an experienced Hawaii health care attorney in your area if you would like legal help with a terminal health care matter. And FindLaw's section on Patient Rights can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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