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Hawaii Euthanasia Laws

Last updated 01/08/2020

“Euthanasia” (also called "death with dignity" or “physician-assisted suicide”) refers to taking the life or allowing the death of a hopelessly sick or injured person. Under current law, intentionally ending the life of another person, no matter how sick or in pain, is illegal in many states. Eight states and the District of Columbia, however, allow euthanasia in certain circumstances. Hawaii became one of these states in 2019 through the Our Care, Our Choice Act. This is an introduction to euthanasia laws in Hawaii.

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 to 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 most states) and passively refusing or removing life-saving medical treatment (legal in many states).

Euthanasia Law in Hawaii

Here are some details about Hawaii’s death with dignity law:

Code Section

Hawaii Revised Statutes 327E-1, et seq.Our Care , Our Choice Act

Euthanasia Allowed in Laws?

Hawaii law allows death with dignity for terminally ill patients.

Requirements for Death With Dignity

Here are the requirements under the Our Care, Our Choice Act:
 
  • Patient must be at least 18 years old
  • Patient must have a terminal, incurable, and irreversible disease that will result in death within 6 months
  • Patient must make two oral requests, at least 20 days apart
  • Patient must also make a signed, written request, witnessed by two people, one unrelated to the patient
  • Two health care providers must confirm the patient’s diagnoses and their ability to make medical decisions
  • A counselor must also determine the patient is not suffering from depression or another condition that might interfere with the patient’s ability to make an informed decision

When can Patients Rescind Their Requests?

Patients can withdraw their requests for aid-in-dying prescriptions at any time.

Is Residency Required?

Yes. Possession of a valid Hawaii driver’s license, registering to vote in Hawaii, or filing of tax return in Hawaii is sufficient to fulfill the residency requirement.

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. FindLaw's section on Patient Rights can provide you with further reading and resources on this topic.

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